Launch of new Sports Science framework for Gaelic Games

A specially designed framework for the development and provision of sports science at club and county level across Gaelic Games has been launched.

For more than two years a workgroup of experts chaired by Dr Aoife Lane has spearheaded the development of guidelines in best practice that aim to make sports science accessible to not just elite inter-county teams but of relevance and benefit to players at every stage of the Gaelic Games Player Pathway.

Speaking at its initial launch Dr Lane said: “We’re very conscious of clubs investing a lot of money in specialists when there could and should be a pathway for club coaches to get some accreditation or qualification to be able to deliver content around athletic development, nutrition or performance analysis, for example.”

The purpose of this new guide is to provide a framework for the application of sports science across Gaelic Games that is aligned to the Gaelic Games Player Pathway. Healthy and holistic player development may be led by the Gaelic Games workforce, and also coaches, teachers, parents and guardians, and can be supported by evidence-based education and qualified practitioners from various disciplines of sports science. This sports science knowledge and experience is most beneficial to coaches and players when consistently and appropriately applied and delivered in practice within the values of Gaelic Games.

Uachtarán CLG Larry McCarthy said: “Sports science has an important role to play in the ongoing evolution of our games. Anything that aligns to our manifesto of Where We All Belong and enables us to fulfil our goal of having as many as possible play and be involved for as long as possible is an asset. Ireland continues to produce academics and practitioners, of world class calibre in the cutting edge of sports science and we are fortunate to benefit from their interest in our games and have the opportunity to embed best practice for the aid of every player at every level.”

Speaking on behalf of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, President Mícheál Naughton said: “We are acutely aware of the ongoing and ever-increasing importance of sports science in Ladies Gaelic Football and across the wider Gaelic Games family. The correct use of sports science, and its application, has helped to elevate our sport to new and exciting levels. Sports science is now critically important in the preparation of elite level teams and can also help to increase participation levels at all grades. Sports science can help to identify strengths and weaknesses in individual athletes and thereby assist in the overall improvement of teams and team culture. Our athletes are now so up to date with their training protocols and preparation and the implementation of good sports science practices helps to ensure that management teams are leaving nothing to chance. The introduction of this new framework is another excellent example of the collaboration across Gaelic Games Associations for the betterment of all of players.”

Hilda Breslin, Uachtarán Camogie Association said: “Sports science is playing an increasing role in the development of our players and in the preparation of our teams. The Sports Science Framework outlines how sports science can be appropriately and effectively used for every player from club right through to elite level. The framework continues the coaching and player pathway collaboration across the Gaelic Games family, utilising experts in the various fields of sports science for the benefit of all players”.

The Performance Analysis Guide for Practice was launched in October 2022 . There is an education pathway for all coaches interested in completing the Introduction to Performance Analysis Courses (online) as well as accreditation workshops designed specifically for Performance Analysts. The other 5 discipline groups will begin work, in collaboration with the Gaelic games system, on designing (and in some cases updating) learning and development opportunities that will help inform good practice for all involved in the gaelic games family including volunteer coaches, administrators, staff, players and parents/guardians.

It is envisioned that the full delivery of this programme can be achieved by 2030 with capacity for adaptation and responsiveness to an ever evolving and expanding evidence base for sports science, particularly in the context of Gaelic Games and across specific subgroups of expertise.

The six subgroups are; Athletic Development, Nutrition, Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation, Sports Psychology, Performance Analysis and Skill Acquisition.

Further details on this initiative and the vision for Sports Science in Gaelic Games between now and 2020 can be found in a podcast discussion between Martin Kennedy of GAA Games Development with Dr Lane via:



Dr Aoife Lane (Chair, Technological University of the Shannon)

Des Ryan (Setanta College)

Dr Sharon Madigan (Sport Ireland)

Dr Kate Kirby (Sport Ireland)

Dr Phil Kearney (University of Limerick)

Prof Niall Moyna (Dublin City University)

Dr Denise Martin (Technological University Dublin)

Eamon O’Reilly (SPARC)

Eoghan Tuohey (GAA)

Martin Kennedy (GAA)



Performance Analysis: Dr Denise Martin (Tyrone), Colm Clear (Laois), Emma Byrne (Monaghan), Louise Byrne (Monaghan), Alan Swanton (Cork), Niall Collins (Cork), Johnny Bradley (Derry), Kevin McGuigan (Derry), Brian McDonnell (Tipperary)

Nutrition: Dr Sharon Madigan (Donegal), Dr Rónán Doherty (Donegal), Dr Catherine Norton (Limerick), Dr Ciaran O Cathain (Westmeath), Laura Mahony (Laois), Dr Nóra Ní Fhlannagáin (Galway), Dr Kieran Collins (Cork)

Sport Psychology: Dr Kate Kirby (Cork), Dr Ciara Losty (Dublin), Dr Ciarán Kearney (Down), Kevin McManamon (Dublin), Dr Colin O’Driscoll (Wicklow), Dr Paul Gaffney (Cavan), Aoife O’Brien (Clare)

Skill Acquisition: Dr Phil Kearney (Kerry), Dr Paul Kinnerk (Limerick), Donie Buckley (Kerry), Molly Dunne (Galway), Dr Ed Coughlan (Cork), Dr Wesley O’Brien (Cork), Dr Carla McCabe (Fermanagh)

Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation: Eamon O’Reilly (Cavan), Dr Enda King (Cavan), Rena Buckley (Cork), Dr Enda Whyte (Louth), Dr Helen McElroy (Tyrone)

Athletic Development: Des Ryan (Galway), Dr David Kelly (Sligo), Dr Bryan Cullen (Dublin), Louise Keane (Kildare), Prof Niall Moyna (Monaghan), Aidan O’Connell (Cork), Cairbre Ó Cairealláin (Antrim), Prof Ian Jeffreys (Setanta College), Fionn Fitzgerald (Kerry), , Shane Murphy (Cork), Annie McCarra (Tipperary), Aaron Kyles (Donegal), Jack Cooney (Westmeath), Dr Alan McCall (Arsenal), Prof Sean Cumming (University of Bath), Rhodri Llyod (Cardiff Metropolitan University), Martin Kennedy (Dublin).


Download the Guide HERE

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