The Fruits of my Labour
Expect the unexpected in research. Each project I work on comes with both unforeseeable challenges and opportunities. Many of the papers I’ve published were born out of conversations with applied practitioners or experiments performed purely for curiosity's sake. Check out the list of my publications below, and don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.
January 07, 2021
To examine the association between the metabolic power paradigm during training and match-play and objective aerobic fitness measures within elite Gaelic football players.
Twenty-five elite Gaelic football players completed objective physiological testing for VO2max, vVO2max, Peak treadmill Velocity (PTV), Running economy (RE) and selected blood lactate concentrations of 2 mmol L−1 (S2) and 4 mmol L−1 (S4). Aerobic testing was performed at the start of the season and at the halfway point of the season. Training and match-play running performances were recorded across the period with global positioning system technology (GPS; 4-Hz; VX Sport, Lower Hutt, New Zealand). Instantaneous raw velocity data were obtained from the GPS and exported to a customised spreadsheet which provided estimations of total distance (m), high-speed running distance (m; 17 km h−1), very-high-speed running distance (m; 22 km h−1), total accelerations (n), acceleration distance (m), peak and mean velocity (km h−1). Furthermore, changes in velocity were analysed which allowed for the assessment of the metabolic power paradigm during these training and match-play events.
Players average metabolic power (Pmet; W Kg−1) observed to have a large association with VO2max (r = 0.76–0.88) and velocity at VO2max (r = 0.72–0.91) in training and match situations. Interestingly, peak treadmill velocity showed a moderate association with training and match-play high metabolic power distance (r = 0.56–0.76). Large associations were observed between high power distance during match and training categories and velocity at VO2max (r = 0.76–0.89). Furthermore, high power distance was observed to have a large association with peak treadmill velocity (r = 0.72–0.91) in training and match situations with lactate variables showing a small to moderate association with metabolic power variables.
The current investigation is the first to provide evidence towards the ecological validity of the metabolic power paradigm to assess aerobic fitness within elite Gaelic football. Practitioners should consider the association between aerobic fitness and specific metabolic load paradigm variables within their monitoring system as a potential means to understand the impact of training plans within elite Gaelic football players.
January 06, 2020
The current investigation examined the effect of a periodized small-sided games (SSG) intervention across a 4-week pre- season period on physical and physiological performance measures within hurling players. Twenty-five (n=25) hurling players were observed across the training intervention with GPS and HR technologies. Players participated in 12 sessions of exclusive 4 min SSG bouts (4 v 4) across differing pitch dimensions from 100 to 200-m2 with the number of bouts of SSG increasing across the intervention period (from 4 up to 8 bouts). Pre and post intervention tests included physiological (VO2max (mL kg−1 min−1), vVO2max (mL kg−1 min−1), PTV (km h−1), oxygen consumption (mL kg−1 min−1), vLT (mmol L−1), vOBLA (mmol L−1) and HRmax) and physical [5-, 10-, 20-m speed (s), Yo-YoIR1 (m) and RSAb (s)] testing methodologies. Across the period significant improvements in physical and physiological qualities were observed with these being trivial to large in nature. Significant large improvements in VO2max (ES 1.79; 95% CI 1.02–2.01) and vLT (ES 1.56; 95% CI 1.12–1.78) were reported with moderate improvements in vVO2max (ES 0.93; 95% CI 0.77–1.11) and vOBLA (ES 0.89; 95% CI 0.34–0.99) respectively. Moderate improvements in Yo-YoIR1 (ES 0.65; 95% CI 0.33–0.78) and RSAb (ES 0.41; 95% CI 0.21–0.66) were also observed across the period with trivial improvements observed for speed across 5-, 10- and 20-m. Furthermore, SSG also led to an improvement in oxygen consumption across varying speeds as indicated through significantly reduced VO2 and HR at running speeds of 8-, 10-, 12-, 14- and 16-km h−1 (ES 0.99–1.78). The present study provides coaches with a periodization strategy for pre-season hurling specific SSG. Overall, the data demonstrate that implementing a structured periodized SSG training intervention can improve the physical and physiological fitness characteristics of hurling players across a pre-season.
June 29, 2020
The aim of the current investigation was to identify the effects of scheduled carbohydrate (CHO) and caffeine (CAF) supplementation on simulated team sport match-play performance. Ten male hurling players completed three hurling match-play simulation protocols (HSP) performed 7 days apart in a double-blind, randomized design. Supplementation included CHO, CHO + CAF, and placebo (PLA). In a randomized order, participants ingested either a 6% CHO solution, a PLA solution of similar taste, or a combined intake of 6% CHO solution + 200 mg CAF capsule. At specific time points (Pre-0 min; half time (HT)-30 min; full time (FT)-60 min), participants completed a repeated sprint protocol (RAST; 12 × 20 m). Physiological [% maximal oxygen uptake (%VO2max), % mean oxygen uptake (%VO2mean), % maximal heart rate (%HRmax), % mean heart rate (%HRmean), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and blood lactate (BLa)] and performance [(best sprint time (RSAbest), mean sprint time (RSAmean), and rate of perceived exertion (RPE)] variables were monitored throughout each simulation. Non-significant differences were observed between supplement trials (CHO, CHO + CAF, and PLA) for BLa (η2 = 0.001, small), %VO2max (η2 = 0.001, small), %VO2mean (η2= 0.004, small), %HRmax (η2 = 0.007, small), %HRmean (η2 = 0.018, small), RER (η2 = 0.007, small), RPE (η2 = 0.007, small), and RSAbest (η2 = 0.050, small). RSAmean performance significantly improved in CHO + CAF trials compared to PLA, with sprint times significantly improved from Pre to FT also (η2 = 0.135, medium). A significant difference was observed in BLa between time points (Pre, HT, and FT) (η2 = 0.884, large) in % HRmax (η2 = 0.202, medium), %HRmean (η2 = 0.477, large), and RER (η2 = 0.554, large) across halves and in RPE across time points (η2 = 0.670, large). Our data provide novel data regarding the effects of CHO and CAF supplementation on team sport performance, with co-ingestion of CHO + CAF reducing the decrement in repeated sprint performance compared to PLA.
March 01, 2020
To examine the self-recalled concussion and bell ringer (BR) prevalence, reporting rates, and reporting behaviors in adolescent rugby players.
Adolescent male rugby players aged 12 to 18 years (n = 866).
Main Outcome Measures:
Concussion and BR prevalence, reporting rates, and reporting behaviors.
The sample reported a concussion and BR prevalence rate of 40% and 69.9%, respectively. Of these athletes with a history, 38.4% and 86.4% suffered recurrent concussions and BRs, respectively. The total reporting rates per 1000 suspected concussions and BRs were 474.8 [95% confidence interval (CI), 415.4-534.3] and 238.7 (95% CI, 217.8-259.5), respectively. The athletes highlighted several barriers which hindered their truthful reporting of concussion, including “not thinking the injury is serious enough to report” (70%), “wanting to win the game” (38%), and “not wanting to miss future games or training” (48%).
Educational interventions are an invaluable component within a socioecological framework aimed at improving the concussion reporting rates of adolescent athletes. The self-recalled prevalence, underreporting rates, and behaviors of the sample are alarming, which prompts the need to further explore their motivational beliefs behind their decision to underreport a potential concussion. The information obtained can be used to tailor personalized interventions for specific athlete samples.
April 01, 2020
Peak running intensity of elite female field hockey players during competitive match play. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000-000, 2020-In recent years, backroom coaching staff have relied heavily on the global demands of competitive match-play to monitor running performance within training and match environments. Although, these figures help prepare players for the demands of match-play, they do not account for the physical and physiological stress of the most intense periods of competition. The aim of the current study was to quantify the duration and position-specific maximal running performance during match-play using a 1-10-minute moving average epoch methodology. Twenty-six (n = 26) elite international female field hockey players (23 ± 3 years; 162.6 ± 13 cm; 66 ± 6 kg) participated in the current observational study. Data were collected during 22 international games, resulting in over 360 individual samples (n = 368) being obtained for analysis. Players were categorized based on their positional lines of play (defenders, midfielders, and forwards). Variables of interest included relative total (m·min), high-speed (>16 km·h; m·min) and sprint distance (>20 km·h; m·min). Regardless of position, varying differences were observed between 10-minute rolling average for relative total (mod-large), high-speed (mod-large), and sprint (mod-large) distance respectively. Furthermore, as the duration of the rolling average increased, so did the observed differences (small). The forwards (119.3 ± 19.7 m·min) were reported to have the highest peak output during minute one for relative high-speed distance when compared with the defenders (100.7 ± 19.7, effect size [ES] 0.9, large) and the midfield (106.8 ± 23.4 m·min, ES 0.5, moderate). The results of the current study show that the running performance of field hockey players alters during match-play irrespective of moving average. Finally, the data will aid practitioners in the development of sport-specific drills to adequately prepare hockey players for the maximal intensity periods of elite hockey match-play.
March 1, 2020
Boyle, E, Warne, J, Neville, A. and Collins, K. According to a study assessing changes in match running performance in elite Gaelic football players, there is a significant reduction in relative high-speed distance (RHSD) in the second, third and fourth quarters when compared to the first quarter . Subbed on players in elite soccer were re- ported to cover greater RHSD (19.8 – 25.1 km·h−1) compared to full game players . In elite Rugby union, subbed on play- ers generally demonstrated improved running performance in comparison to full game and subbed off players. Subbed on players also reported a better running performance over their first 10 minutes of play compared to the final 10 minutes of play of whom they replaced . Existing substitute work- rate studies across field sports appear to indicate the positive impact of a substitute in terms of physical performance. How- ever, there is currently limited information on the impact of playing time on Gaelic football match running performance. The relative match-play distances across position comparing full game players, substituted players and substitutes is yet to be investigated in Gaelic football.
Methods of monitoring training load and their association with changes across fitness measures in hurling players
January 1, 2020
Malone, S, Hughes, B, Collins, K, and Akubat, I. Methods of monitoring training load and their association with changes across fitness measures in hurling players. J Strength Cond Res 34 (1): 225–234, 2020—The aim of the current investigation was to assess the dose-response relationship for various methods of monitoring training load (TL) and changes in aerobic and anaerobic fitness in hurling players. Training and match load measures were collected from 30 hurling players (speed at different blood lactate [vLT, vOBLA], maximal oxygen uptake [VO 2 max], speed at VO 2 max [vVO 2 max], peak treadmill velocity [PTV] running economy [RE] Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test (Yo-YoIR1, Yo-YoIR2), speed at 5, 10, 20 m, and repeated sprint ability [6× 35 m]) before and after during a 12-week in-season period. Mean weekly training and match loads as determined by s-RPE, bTRIMP, luTRIMP, eTRIMP, iTRIMP, and
December 03, 2019
Objective: The objective of the research was to screen male and female adolescent athletes on their concussion educational histories and preferred future methods of education in terms of educational messenger, modality, and concussion-related areas of interest.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Examination setting within the classroom.
Participants: Adolescent male (n= 1854) and female (n= 590) athletes aged 12 to 18 years.
Main Outcome Measures: To explore the concussion educational histories and preferred future methods of education in Irish male and female adolescent athletes.
Results: 19.7%(n= 482) of the sample received education in the past 12 months. Male athletes had a significantly higher rate of previous education than female athletes (41% vs 17%). The methods used in previous educational interventions are failing to match the interests of the athletes. Sex played a significant role in the
November 2, 2019
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of pitch size on the physical, physiological and technical demands of small-sided games (SSGs) in a sub-elite Gaelic football setting.
Thirty-four sub-elite adult male Gaelic football players completed tailored Gaelic football SSGs on three different pitch sizes (40 x 20 m, 60 x 20 m, 80 x 20 m) in a 4v4 format, resulting in 312 individual player observations over the course of the 2018 season.
Participants performed significantly greater high-speed running (>17 km∙h−1) (p ≤ 0.001) and sprinting (>22 km∙h−1) (p ≤ 0.001) on the 60x20 m pitch compared to the 40x20 m and 80x20 m pitches. Pitch size had only trivial effects on the average heart rate and the peak heart rate recorded in games. Games played on the 40x20 m pitch resulted in more scores per team (p = 0.062; η2 = 0.071), no-score entries (p = 0.075; η2 = 0.067) and …
November 1, 2019
McGuinness, A, Malone, S, Petrakos, G, and Collins, K. The physical and physiological demands of elite international female field hockey players during competitive match play. J Strength Cond Res 33 (11): 3105–3113, 2019—The aim of the current investigation was to quantify the physical and physiological demands of elite international female field hockey match play across halves of play. Thirty-eight participants (24±5 years; 173±5 cm; 72±5 kg) took part in 19 competitive matches during the 2014–2015 season. Participants were monitored with global positioning system technology and heart rate monitors. Players were categorized based on 3 different playing positions. Activity was categorized into total (m), high-speed running distance (m;> 16 km· h− 1), and relative distance (RD)(m· min− 1) due to the use of rolling substitutions. Heart rate was classified based on the percentage of players' individual peak
October 30, 2019
Hamstring strains are the most common time‐loss injury in elite Gaelic football affecting over 20% of players per season. Thus, there is a need to identify factors contributing to the onset of hamstring injuries in order to inform injury risk management strategies. The current study investigated whether eccentric knee flexor strength and between‐limb imbalances were associated with increased risk of sustaining a time‐loss hamstring injury in elite Gaelic football players. A total of 185 elite male players (26.9 ± 2.7 yr, 86.4 ± 6.2 kg, 183.4 ± 5.6) were prospectively followed for 12 weeks from the day of testing. Injury data were provided by the team medical staff. Twenty‐eight players (16%) sustained a time‐loss hamstring injury following testing. Players that did not sustain a hamstring injury had greater average between‐limb asymmetries (uninjured = 9.1%, 95% CI 7.8 – 10.1; injured = 5.1%, 95% CI 3.7 – 6.7; p=0.001
October 21, 2019
Introduction: The current research examines the positional technical and running performance of sub-elite Gaelic football match-play and compares technical and running performance between Division 1 and Division 2 teams.
Methods: Sixty eight sub-elite Gaelic football players from two teams were monitored via global positioning system (GPS) microtechnology (GPEXE LT 18 Hz, Exelio, Udine, Italy) and a video camera across 30 competitive matches (n = 336). Comparisons between teams and playing positions were examined for selected technical and running performance variables.
Results: Playing position had large effects on several variables including number of possessions (ES = 0.18), number of shots (ES = 0.45), total m per minute (ES = 0.403), average speed (ES = 0.40), number of power events (ES = 0.3) and recovery time between power events (ES = 0.31). Playing standard had trivial to small effects
September 01, 2019
McGuinness, A, Malone, S, Hughes, B, and Collins, K. Physical activity and physiological profiles of elite international female field hockey players across the quarters of competitive match play. J Strength Cond Res 33 (9): 2513–2522, 2019—The aim of the current investigation was to quantify the physical and physiological demands of elite international female field hockey across the quarters of match-play. Twenty-seven elite international female field hockey outfield players (23 6 3 years; 162.6 6 13.0 cm; 66.0 6 6.0 kg) participated in the current observational study during the 2016–2017 season. Participants were monitored using global positioning system technology and HR monitors. Players were categorized based on 3 different playing positions. Activity was categorized into total distance (in meters), relative total distance (m $ min21), low-, moderate-, and high-intensity distance (m), maximum velocity (km $ h21 …
June 01, 2019
Mangan, S, Ryan, M, Shovlin, A, McGahan, J, Malone, S, O’Neill, C, Burns, C, and Collins, K. Seasonal changes in Gaelic football match-play running performance. J Strength Cond Res 33 (6): 1685–1691, 2019—Time of season influences performance in many team sports; however, the anomaly has not yet been examined with regards to elite Gaelic football. Global positioning systems (4 Hz; VX Sport, Lower Hutt, New Zealand) were used to monitor 5 elite Gaelic football teams over a period of 5 years (2012–2016). In total, 95 matches equated to 780 full player data sets. Running performance was characterized by total distance (m) and high-speed distance (h21; m). Highspeed distance was further categorized into 4 match quarters. Time of season was determined by month of the year. Time of season had a significant effect on total distance (p# 0.001 partial h2= 0.148) and high-speed distance (p# 0.001
June 27, 2019
The current investigation examined the relationships between external training load measures and the session rating of perceived exertion (s-RPE) within Gaelic football players. Furthermore, we examined the effect that player experience, playing position and 1-km time trial performance had on perception of training load. Physical performance (Total distance, high speed distance, very high speed distance, max velocity, total accelerations, maximal velocity exposures) and perceived training load (s-RPE) data were collected from 45 elite inter-county Gaelic football players (mean±SD age of 24.2±2.9 yr; height: 180±7 cm; mass: 81±7 kg) over a one year period this resulted in 4,095 individual training session data being collected. There were moderate to very large associations between s-RPE and distance measures. Post hoc analysis revealed that the 0-to 1-year group had a higher s-RPE training load than the 2-to
January 27, 2019
The current study examined the impact of different exercise-to-rest ratios on hurling-specific small-sided games (SSG). Thirty-four (n = 34) hurling players were monitored during an in-season training period. Heart rate (Polar Electro Oy, Kempele, Finland) and global positioning system technology (4-Hz; VX Sport, Lower Hutt, New Zealand) were used to analyze the physical and physiological differences between exercise-to-rest ratios across bouts of SSG. Total distance (m), high-speed distance (m) (≥17 km·h−1), very high-speed distance (≥22 km·h−1) (m), total accelerations (n), acceleration distance (m), peak velocity (km·h−1), and % maximum heart rate (%HRmax) were measured. Exercise-to-rest ratios of 2:1 (d = 0.65 ± 0.12; moderate), and 1:1 (d = 0.43 ± 0.12; small), resulted in significant reductions in high-speed distance, very high-speed distance, and acceleration distance. Exercise-to-rest ratios of 1:2 (d = 0.63 ± 0.21; moderate), and 1:3 (d = 1.23 ± 0.22; large), resulted in increased high-speed distance, very high-speed distance, and acceleration distance, but only after the third bout. The first bout of SSG resulted in the lowest %HRmax when compared with all other bouts (d = 0.63 ± 0.22; moderate). A significant bout-to-bout increase in %HRmax independent of exercise-to-rest ratio (d = 0.25 ± 0.04; small) was observed. Exercise-to-rest ratios of 2:1 (d = 0.65 ± 0.14; moderate), and 1:1 (d = 0.65 ± 0.24; moderate), resulted in significantly higher %HRmax during all SSG bouts; however, exercise-to-rest ratios of 1:2 (d = 0.25 ± 0.04; small), and 1:3 (d= 0.15 ± 0.04; trivial), resulted in lower %HRmax during SSG. Coaches should be aware that reducing the rest between bouts of SSGs (2:1 and 1:1 exercise-to-rest ratios) increases the physiological response (%HRmax) with reduced high-speed running performances. Coaches now have data to allow them tp best prepare for session needs with regard to specific SSG exercise-to-rest ratios.
February 7, 2019
There is currently a lack of research into the energy demands and associated nutritional intakes of elite Gaelic football players during the pre-season period, which is a crucial time of year for physical development. The aim of the current study was to investigate the dietary intake and energy expenditure (EE) of elite Gaelic football players during a typical pre-season week. Over a seven-day period, which included four training days and three rest days, dietary intake (validated self-reported estimated food diary) and EE (Sensewear Pro armband) were recorded in 18 male players from a single elite inter-county Gaelic football team. Average energy intake (EI) (3283 ± 483 kcal) was significantly (p = 0.002) less than average EE (3743 ± 335 kcal), with a mean daily energy deficit of −460 ± 503 kcal. Training days elicited the greatest deficits between intake and expenditure. The mean carbohydrate (CHO) intake was 3.6 ± 0.7 g/kg/day, protein intake was 2.1 ± 0.5 g/kg/day, and fat intake was 1.6 ± 0.2 g/kg/day. These findings indicate that the dietary practices of the sampled players were inadequate to meet EE and CHO recommendations. Training days are of particular concern, with the players not altering energy and CHO intake to encounter increased energy demands. Education on nutritional strategies for elite Gaelic footballers should be considered in relation to training demands to avoid detriments to performance and health.
December 31, 2019
The current investigation compared the metabolic power and energetic characteristics in team sports with respect to positional lines and halves of match-play. Global positioning sys- tem (GPS) technology data were collected from 22 elite competitive hurling matches over a 3-season period. A total of 250 complete match-files were recorded with players split into positional groups of full-back; half-back; midfield; half-forward; full-forward. Raw GPS data were exported into a customized spreadsheet that provided estimations of metabolic power and speed variables across match-play events (average metabolic power [Pmet], high meta- bolic load distance [HMLD], total distance, relative distance, high-speed distance, maximal speed, accelerations, and deceleration). Pmet, HMLD, total, relative and high-speed dis- tance were 8.9 ± 1.6 W�kg-1, 1457 ± 349 m, 7506 ± 1364 m, 107 ± 20 m�min-1 and 1169 ± 260 m respectively. Half-backs, midfielders and half-forwards outperformed full-backs (Effect Size [ES] = 1.03, 1.22 and 2.07 respectively), and full-forwards in Pmet (Effect Size [ES] = 1.70, 2.07 and 1.28 respectively), and HMLD (full-backs: ES = -1.23, -1.37 and -0.84 respectively, and full-forwards: ES = -1.77, -2.00 and -1.38 respectively). Half-backs (ES = -0.60), midfielders (ES = -0.81), and half-forwards (ES = -0.74) experienced a second-half temporal decrement in HMLD. The current investigation demonstrates that metabolic power may increase our understanding of the match-play demands placed on elite hurling players. Coaches may utilize these findings to construct training drills that replicate match-play demands.
April 24, 2019
The typical sprint profile in elite hurling has yet to be established. The purpose of this study was to investigate the sprinting demands of elite hurling competition and characterize the sprinting patterns of different playing positions. GPS (10-Hz, STATSports Viper) were used to collect data from 51 hurlers during 18 games. The total sprint (�22 km�h-1) distance (TSD), the number of sprints (NOS) classified as length (<20 m, �20 m) and relative speed thresholds (<80%, 80–90%, >90%), the between-sprint duration and the number of repeated-sprint bouts (�2 sprints in �60 s) were analyzed. The NOS was 22.2 ± 6.8 accu- mulating 415 ± 140 m TSD. The NOS <20 m, �20 m was 14.0 ± 4.7 and 8.1 ± 3.6 respec- tively. The NOS <80%, 80–90% and >90% was 10.6 ± 4.3, 8.2 ± 3.6, 3.4 ± 2.4 respectively. The between-sprint duration and the repeated-sprint bouts were 208 ± 86 s and 4.5 ± 2.6 respectively. TSD (ES = -0.20), NOS (ES = -0.34), NOS <20 m (ES = -0.33), �20 m (ES = -0.24), 80–90% (ES = -0.35) >90% (ES = -0.13) and repeated-sprint bouts (ES = -0.28) decreased between-halves. Full-backs performed a lower NOS <80% than half-backs (ES = -0.66) and a shorter mean duration of sprints than half-backs (ES = -0.75), midfielders (ES = -1.00) and full-forwards (ES = -0.59). These findings provide a sprint profile of elite hurling match-play that coaches should consider to replicate the sprint demands of competition in training.
January 23, 2019
The current study aimed to investigate the ball-in-play (BIP) and ball-out-of-play (BOP) differences between U17, U21 and senior hurling matches.
Video recordings of matches (n = 36) were coded and analysed for BIP and BOP. Time when the ball was continuously in-play was considered BIP, whereas any stoppages were considered BOP.
The total and mean BIP cycle duration showed no difference between levels. The number of BIP cycles were higher in senior matches compared to U17 (ES = 1.80: large) and U21 (ES = 1.27: large). U17 matches had a lower frequency of BIP cycles between 16 and 30 s (ES = − 1.75: large) compared to senior. Total BOP duration was longer in senior (45:30 ± 4:13 min) matches compared to U17 (36:31 ± 2:30 min, ES = 2.59: very large) and U21 (36:48 ± 2:53 min, ES = 2.40: very large). Senior matches had a longer BOP duration and greater number of BOP cycles than U17 (ES = 0.17: trivial, ES = 2.20: very large, respectively) and U21 (ES = 0.17: trivial, ES = 0.99: moderate, respectively). U17 matches had a lower frequency of BOP cycles > 60 s (ES = − 1.33: large) compared to senior.
Although there was a difference in the total match duration, U17 and U21 matches have similar BIP time as seniors, suggesting that U17 and U21 players should be conditioned to withstand the elite senior BIP duration. In training practice, high-intensity short-duration games are suggested for repeating the duration demands of competition.