The Fruits of my Labour
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 personal observations in the field. Check out the list of my publications below, and don’t hesitate to contact me for more information.
October 01, 2022
Analysis of 3926 shots from the 2019 Senior inter-county football championship aims to establish the impact of distance, angle, shot type, method and pressure on shot success. Findings demonstrate that shots from free kicks contribute 20.5% of the total attempts in Gaelic football, with a success rate of 75%, in contrast to 50% success of shots from open play. Moreover, the range from which free kick success is >57.6% accuracy extends to 40 m, while from open play this is passed at a range of 28 m. There were almost twice as many right foot shots (64.4%) compared with the left foot (32.4%), with right foot attempts marginally more accurate. Shots under low pressure were most successful, while those under medium pressure were less successful than those under high pressure, albeit taken from an average distance of 7.5 m closer to the target. A logistic regression model to explore the impact of all variables on …
September 19, 2022
Hamstring strains are the most common moderate-major severity injuries in football. The majority of hamstring injuries occur during sprinting, with low eccentric hamstring strength being associated with an elevated risk.
To examine the relationship between sprinting and eccentric hamstring strength by monitoring total weekly sprint distance and weekly efforts > 90% and >95% of maximum velocity.
Fifty-eight professional male footballers were observed over one-and-a-half seasons. Players’ running was monitored during training and matches using GPS, and eccentric hamstring strength was measured weekly.
Weekly sprint distance (ρ = −0.13, p < 0.01) and weekly efforts >90% of maximum velocity (ρ = −0.08, p = 0.01) both displayed significant inverse relationships with the percentage change in eccentric hamstring strength; weekly efforts >95% of maximum velocity showed no relationship with hamstring strength (ρ = −0.02, p = 0.45). Only weekly efforts >90% of maximum velocity significantly influenced the mean percentage change in eccentric hamstring force, F(3,58) = 3.71, p = 0.01, with significant differences occurring when comparing 7–8 sprint efforts with 0–2 efforts (0.11%, p = 0.03) and 5–6 efforts (0.12%, p = 0.03).
Eccentric hamstring strength levels significantly decrease when 7–8 weekly sprint efforts are completed at >90% of maximum velocity. Monitoring weekly sprint loading at velocities > 90% of maximum velocity may be valuable to help to reduce the risk of hamstring injuries in professional football.
August 17, 2022
The current investigation aimed to examine the running performance of elite Ladies Gaelic football (LGF) match-play and establish the within game positional profile, in addition to the running performance of players across halves of play.
GPS technology was used to examine the running performance of thirty-three (n = 33) elite LGF players (age; 23 ± 5 years, height; 173 ± 5 cm, body mass; 63 ± 4 kg). Across the duration of the observational period, one hundred and thirty-one (n = 131) individual samples were collected over 15 competitive matches. Data were classified based on positional line and across halves of play. Running performance was determined across the following performance variables of total distance covered (m) (TD), relative distance (m·min−1), HSR (≥ 4.4 m·s−1), RHSR (HSR; m·min−1), percentage HSR (% HSR), VHSR (≥ 5.5 m·s−1), peak velocity (m s−1 …
August 01, 2022
Hurling is one of the world’s fastest field sports. Since the last review of science and Gaelic sports in 2008, there has been an increase in sports science provisions across elite and sub-elite cohorts, resulting in increased hurling-specific literature equating to an additional 111 research investigations into the game across all sports science disciplines. The present review aims to provide an updated analysis of the current research on the game and propose recommendations for future research. Overall, intermittent aerobic fitness remains an important physical quality during competition, with a focus on games-based training methodologies within the literature. Within the current review, we provide updated normative data on the running demands, physiological responses, and anthropometric and performance profiles of hurling players. The increased literature across the sport has led to the development of a hurling-specific simulation, that can now be utilised practically in training and research processes for hurling cohorts. Furthermore, the monitoring of internal and external training loads across training and match environments, in addition to response variables such as well-being, appears to have become more prominent, allowing practitioners to design training regimes to achieve optimal dose and response characteristics. Analysing the game from a scientific perspective can allow for more efficient preparatory practices, to meet the specific requirements of players at all age levels. Collaborative research among the various sports science disciplines, is required to identify strategies to reduce the incidence of injury and enhance performance in …
July 31, 2022
To describe the epidemiology of back injury in elite male Gaelic football athletes between 2008-2016.
Prospective cohort study.
Injury data from the National GAA Injury Surveillance Database.
Elite male Gaelic football athletes.
Main outcome measures
Incidence of injury as a rate per 1000 hours of exposure.
38 datasets were analysed. Out of a total of 1606 time-loss injuries, 76 were back injuries (4.73%, 95% CI 3.80%–5.88%). The incidence of back injuries in match play was 1.72 (CI 95% 1.21 to 2.45) and in training was 0.2 (CI 95% 0.14 to 0.28) injuries per 1000 hours of exposure. The majority of back injuries (63.16%, CI 95% 51.93–73.12) were new, as opposed to recurrent (35.53% CI 95% 25.7–46.74). Most back injuries were acute (51.32%, CI 95% 40.29–62.22), compared to chronic (31.58%, CI 95% 22.23–42.7) or overuse (11.84%, CI 95% 6.36–21.00). The …
June 10, 2022
The aim of the current study was to analyse the distribution of kickouts and the effectiveness of kickouts in sub-elite Gaelic football. A total of 45 competitive sub-elite games from 2 seasons (2020 and 2021) were analysed. Video analysis software was used to code game videos to analyse performance indicators. It was found that 65% of kickouts were won by the team taking the kickout in the games analysed. Short kickouts inside the 45 m line were the most successful. Kickouts lasting less than 0–5 s and 6–10 s were found to give teams a better opportunity to win their kickout and build an attack following the kickout. The most common attack outcome following winning a kickout was a turnover, followed by a score for the team. It was found the highest win percentage was with 5 and 7 opposition players inside the 65 m, the lowest win percentage was with 6 and 10 opposition players inside the 65 m line
April 08, 2022
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.
April 02, 2022
Tactical Periodisation is a training methodology, originally developed for soccer, that focuses primarily on the systems of play that a team intends to use in competition. It has been popularised by successful European coaches and subsequently has been proposed as a model to follow for other sports such as rugby union and tennis in more recent times. Gaelic football is an amateur sport that has similarities to soccer and rugby union. To date no training periodisation model has been proposed for Gaelic football. The aim of this article was to present a Tactical Periodisation model for Gaelic football, taking the sport’s game structure, physical and technical demands and amateur status into account.
January 16, 2022
The current study aimed to investigate the sprint performances of senior Camogie players between halves of play and between positions.
Forty-three (n = 43) elite female Camogie players (23 ± 5 years; 174 ± 5 cm; 68 ± 9 kg) wore 10-Hz GPS devices (STATSports, Apex) to record data in 20 competitive matches during the 2018–2020 season. The total sprint distance (TSD), number of sprints (NOS) < 20 m and ≥ 20 m, and the NOS 80–90% and > 90% of the player’s peak speed, the mean sprint duration, and between-sprint duration were analyzed.
The TSD was 162 ± 102 m accumulated by 9 ± 5 NOS. The NOS < 20 m and ≥ 20 m was 7 ± 3 and 3 ± 2, respectively. The NOS 80–90% and > 90% was 6 ± 3 and 3 ± 3, respectively. The mean sprint duration and between …
January 16, 2022
The current investigation aimed to understand the positional profile of repeated high-intensity-effort activity (RHIE) across halves during elite rugby union match-play. Forty elite rugby union players (n = 40) were monitored across match-play during a single season. Player’s locomotor profiles were recorded using wearable microtechnology (GPS; Catapult S5, Australia). Locomotor activity was classified across total distance (m); running distance (m; ≥ 4.4 m s−1); high-speed running (≥ 5.5 m s−1); sprint distance (≥ 7 m s−1); accelerations (≥ 2 m s−2); decelerations (≤ − 2 m s−2); and collisions (≥ 4 g). Peak velocity (m s−1); total efforts (n); high-intensity efforts (HIE), repeated high-intensity efforts (RHIE), total number of RHIE bouts (n), maximal number of efforts within a RHIE bout (n) and recovery times between RHIE (s) were also recorded across match-play. Players were shown to complete
January 2, 202
The lack of sport science research conducted on female sport, makes it challenging for coaches and sport science practitioners to develop an evidence-based approach. Ladies Gaelic football (LGF) is the most popular female sport in Ireland with over 200,000 members, however there has been no research to benchmark performance. The current study investigates the game characteristics of LGF by developing analysis system which could provide benchmark profiles of successful performance at elite level and evaluate the transferability of the game intelligence available within LGF’s brother sport, Gaelic football (GF). Thirty-one games (62 performances) were analysed from the 2019 and 2020 TG4 All-Ireland Senior Ladies Football Championship using NacSport Scout+. Statistical differences between winning and losing performances were identified using paired sample t-tests (p ≤ 0.05) and Wilcoxon signed …
October 10, 2022
The current study aimed to investigate the differences in running demands between the National Hurling League (NHL) and the Championship, and within playing positions. GPS (10 Hz, STATSports Apex GNSS) were used to analyse the running demands during 34 games (2017–2020 seasons) of the Championship and the NHL. The running demands (total-, relative-, high-speed- [>17 km·h−1] and sprint [≥22 km·h−1] distance, number and length of sprints, and peak speed) were compared between competitions. Greater total- [ES = 0.32], relative- [ES = 0.26], and sprint-distance [ES = 0.41], and number of sprints [ES = 1.29] were completed in the Championship. The high-speed distance was similar between competitions. Half-backs and half-forwards covered greater total- (ES = 0.91 and 0.21, respectively), relative- (ES = 1.14 and 0.68, respectively), high-speed- (ES = 0.69 and 0.44, respectively), and sprint-distance (ES = 0.50 and 1.26, respectively), number of sprints (ES = 2.66 and 1.73, respectively), and peak speed (ES = 1.09 and 1.32, respectively) in the Championship. There was no difference (p < 0.05) in the sprint distance covered between positions in the Championship. The results showed that the Championship is more physically demanding. The findings present key implications for the transition between competitions.
October 14, 2021
To quantify the incidence, location and severity of injuries in Gaelic football and to identify potential moderators of those injuries.
Systematic review and meta-analysis.
A comprehensive search strategy of six electronic databases was undertaken independently by two researchers in March 2020. Studies must have prospectively investigated injuries sustained by Gaelic footballers over a minimum duration of six months. The Newcastle-Ottawa Scale was used to assess risk of bias. Studies were combined in a pooled analysis using an inverse variance method.
Twelve prospective cohort studies were eligible. The total injury incidence was 10.7 injuries/1000 h of exposure. Match incidence (55.9 injuries/1000 h) was much higher than training (4.6 injuries/1000 h). The lower limb accounted for over 70% of all injuries, with hamstring injuries ranging from 22 to 24% of all injuries.
September 3, 2021
The aim of the current study was to assess if opposition quality influences the technical performance of lower-ranked Gaelic football teams. Over a three-year period (2016–2018), nine teams from Tier 3 were assessed on their technical performance levels over 50 matches. Teams were split into three groups according to team rating determined objectively using the Elo Ratings System for Gaelic football (Tier 1 (n = 14) (>1500 points, highest ranking), Tier 2 (n = 17) (1200–1499 points) and Tier 3 (n = 19) (<1200 points)). Teams in Tier 3 are of the same ranking as the “lower ranked teams”. A series of 1-Way ANOVA’s examined differences in technical performance comparing the lower ranked teams to all 3 tiers, where both significance and effect size were considered. There was a non-significant difference found when comparing the lower ranked teams with all three tiers for all variables (all P > 0.05). For both
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.
May 05, 2021
There is currently no information available on the variation in anthropometric and performance characteristics of starters and non-starters in elite Gaelic football. The aim of the current study was to determine if variations exist for elite male Gaelic football players with respect to position and playing role (starter or non-starter). One-hundred-and-sixty-two footballers from six elite teams underwent anthropometric and performance assessments. Players were categorised into six positional groups (goalkeeper, full back, half back, midfield, half forward and full forward) and two playing role groups (starter and non-starter). A significant position × role interaction was observed for Yo-YoIRT1 distance (p = 0.031, pη2 = 0.078), with starters covering a greater distance in all positions when compared to non-starters (all p < 0.05), except for half backs. Goalkeepers covered a significantly lower Yo-YoIRT1 distance compared to all other positions (p ≤ 0.001, pη2 = 0.35), while half backs completed a significantly greater distance compared to full backs (p = 0.014, pη2 = 0.35) and full forwards (p ≤ 0.001, pη2 = 0.35). Starters had a significantly greater CMJ height (p ≤ 0.001, pη2 = 0.082) and CMJ PP (p = 0.001, pη2 = 0.08) compared to non-starters. This research is the first of its kind within Gaelic football to provide anthropometric and performance values with respect to playing role. The data obtained may aid coaches to individualize training regimes to enhance role-specific preparation for competitive match-play.
April 25, 2021
Background: Previous research has reported that elite Gaelic football players’ carbohydrate (CHO) intakes are sub-optimal, especially, in the lead up to competitive matches. Despite clear decrements in running performance across elite Gaelic football matches, there are no studies that have investigated nutrition interventions on match-related Gaelic football performance. The aim of this study was to determine whether a higher-CHO diet in line with sports nutrition guidelines can improve Gaelic football-related performance compared to lower CHO intakes previously observed in Gaelic footballers. Methods: Twelve Gaelic football players completed a Gaelic football simulation protocol (GFSP) on two occasions after consuming a high-CHO diet (7 g·kg−1) (HCHO) or an energy-matched lower-CHO diet (3.5 g·kg−1) (L-CHO) for 48 h. Movement demands and heart rate were measured using portable global positioning systems devices. Countermovement jump height (CMJ) and repeated-sprint ability (RSA) were measured throughout each trial. Expired respiratory gases were collected throughout the trial using a portable gas analyser. Blood samples were taken at rest, half-time, and post-simulation. Results: There was no significant difference in total distance (p = 0.811; η2 = 0.005) or high-speed running distance (HSRD) covered between both trials. However, in the second half of the HCHO trial, HSRD was significantly greater compared to the second half of the LCHO trial (p = 0.015). Sprint distance covered during GFSP was significantly greater in HCHO (8.1 ± 3.5 m·min−1) compared with LCHO (6.4 ± 3.2 m·min−1) (p = 0.011; η2 = 0.445). RSA performance (p < 0.0001; η2 = 0.735) and lower body power (CMJ) (p < 0.0001; η2 = 0.683) were significantly greater during the HCHO trial compared to LCHO. Overall CHO oxidation rates were significantly greater under HCHO conditions compared to LCHO (3.3 ± 0.5 vs. 2.7 ± 0.6 g·min−1) (p < 0.001; η2 = 0.798). Blood lactate concentrations were significantly higher during HCHO trial versus LCHO (p = 0.026; η2 = 0.375). There were no significant differences in plasma glucose, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs), and glycerol concentration between trials. In both trials, all blood metabolites were significantly elevated at half-time and post-trial compared to pre-trial. Conclusion: These findings indicate that a higher-CHO diet can reduce declines in physical performance during simulated Gaelic football match play.
April 25, 2021
Recent studies have identified shot efficiency as a key performance indicator (KPI) in Gaelic football; however, there has been little research into the impact of shot location on shot efficiency. The current study aims to establish a methodology to calculate shot distance and angle reliably and consistently in Gaelic football. Through application of this methodology to the 2019 inter-county championship the impact of distance and angle on shot success was assessed. There was evidence of reliability in the proposed methodology for calculating shot distance and angle. As a result, this study determined average shot distance at 30.9 m (±11.4 m) and average shot angle at 31.3° (±18.6°). While shot success peaked at 20 m, shots from closer to goal had a higher points per shot value given many from closer range were successful goal attempts, thus having greater scoreboard impact. This study can conclude that the scoring zone in Gaelic football lies within a 32 m arc of the goal, and within a 60° angle from the midline of the pitch. Moreover, this study presents the first validated methodology to calculate shot distance and angle in Gaelic football using commercially available software.
May 25, 2021
Nutrition intake plays a crucial role in improving athletic performance, enhancing adaptations to training, and augmenting recovery from exercise. However, research has reported that Gaelic footballers consistently fail to meet energy and carbohydrate recommendations. Sports nutrition knowledge (SNK) can influence the dietary intake of athletes, and therefore has the potential to have a significant impact on athletic performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the current level of SNK in elite Gaelic footballers (n= 100). An online version of the Nutrition for Sport Knowledge Questionnaire (NSKQ) was used to assess sports SNK. The overall mean SNK scores for Gaelic footballers and practitioners were 47.6±12.3% and 78.1±8.3%, respectively. There were no differences in knowledge between age groups, education level or divisional status. The top three sources of nutrition information identified by participants were team dietitian/nutritionists (84.0%), athletic trainers/strength and conditioning coaches (73%), and social media (37%). The results show that there is a major gap in the SNK of Gaelic footballers, while practitioners demonstrated a promising SNK, that could support Gaelic footballers. There is a need for development of interventions and knowledge transfer partnerships, including more effective methods of educating Gaelic footballers and translating sports nutrition principles to players. Developing appropriate nutritional education strategies using online resources and mobile applications could help to improve nutritional knowledge and practice of Gaelic footballers.
February 18, 2021
The current investigation quantified the training and match-play load of elite Gaelic football players across a two-season period using global positioning system technology (GPS), rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and sessional rating of perceived exertion (sRPE). Total weekly workload variables were collected across GPS, RPE, and sRPE across thirty-six elite Gaelic footballers (mean ± SD, age: 26 ± 5 years; height: 177 ± 8 cm; mass: 81 ± 7 kg) from one elite squad during a two-season observational period. External training load variables included: Total distance (m), High speed running (m; ≥ 17.1 km·h−1), Sprint distance (m; 22 km·h−1), Accelerations (n), Average metabolic power (W·kg−1), High-power distance (m; ≥ 25 W·kg−1). Internal load variables included: sRPE and RPE. Repeated measures ANOVA were used to understand the differences in loading patterns across phases, position, and week types when significant main effects were observed a Tukey’s post hoc test was applied and standardized effect sizes were calculated to understand the practical meaning of these differences. When total weekly loading across phases was considered total load was significantly greater in club 1 and provincial 1 with these phases showing the highest loading for players when compared to all other phases (p ≤ 0.001; ES: 2.95–7.22; very large). Furthermore, in-season 1 was greater for total loading when compared to in-season 2 and both championship phases (p ≤ 0.05; ES: 0.47–0.54; small). Total distance in training was greater during preseason 1 when compared to all other phases of the season (p ≤ 0.001; ES: 2.95–7.22; very large). During the in-season period, training based total distance was higher during provincial 1 when compared to other phases with similar trends across all measures (p ≤ 0.005). Finally, a positional profile for load measures was observed, with weekly context (match or non-match) having an impact on the internal and external loading players experienced across phases. The current data provide useful information for practitioners on the training periodization currently present within the elite Gaelic football training process. Specifically, the data provide positional profiles of loading across weekly and segmented phased of an elite Gaelic football season. These data can increase understanding as to the periods of increased and decreased loading across different phases of an elite Gaelic football season, while providing a framework for future analysis concerning Gaelic football periodization.
January 25, 2021
To quantify the rotational demands of elite female field hockey with respect to position. Twenty-eight (n = 28) elite international field hockey players were recruited during the 2018–2020 seasons. Players were monitored with GPS technology and heart-rate monitors. Methods: Activity was categorised into total distance (m), relative total distance (m·min−1), high-speed distance (m; 16 km∙h−1), relative high-speed distance (m·min−1), max velocity (km·h−1), and percentage maximal velocity (%Vmax). Physiological demands were assessed via heart rate measures (bpm and % HRmax) and time > 80% heart rate maximum. Results: A single rotation equated to 7 ± 0.8 min. Players covered a mean total distance of was 868 ± 132 m (125.7 ± 5.9 m·min−1) with 140 ± 39 m at high-speed (21.7 ± 3.6 m·min−1). A significant difference was reported for relative total (p ≤ 0.001), and high-speed (p ≤ 0.001), distance across positional. Forwards were reported to cover the most relative total and high-speed distance (d = 1.0) when compared to defenders and midfielders. Conclusion: The study provides normative data for rotational demands of elite female field hockey. Coaches should consider these demands when developing training drills to better optimise the positional physical and physiological demands of competitive match-play
January 07, 2021
The aim of the current study was to identify the specific differences in anthropometric and performance profiles between elite and sub-elite hurling players with respect to position and level of play. One hundred and thirty-seven (n = 137) hurlers at the elite (n = 61) and sub-elite (n = 76) level completed a series of anthropometric [height, body mass, the sum of seven skinfolds, adipose tissue percentage estimates (%AT), fat-free mass estimations (FFM)) and performance ((countermovement jump height (CMJ), CMJ peak power (CMJ PP), CMJ relative peak power (CMJ RPP), acceleration (5, 10 and 20 m), and yo-yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IRT1)) assessments during the “early in-season” phase of the competition. Data were categorized into positions at both levels (full-backs, half-backs, midfielders, half-forwards, full-forwards). Multiple two-way ANOVA’s were performed to determine the effect of two fixed factors (level and position) on several anthropometric and performance variables. Elite level players had a significantly lower sum of seven skinfolds across all positions compared to the sub-elite (η2 = 0.441, large). At half-back, half-forward, and full-forward elite players had significantly lower %AT (η2 = 0.087–0.167, small–medium) and greater FFM (η2 = 0.040–0.065, small). Jump performance assessment showed elite players performed significantly better across all positions for CMJ (η2 = 0.526, large), CMJ PP (η2 = 0.385, large) and CMJ RPP (η2 = 0.520, large). When Yo-Yo IRT1 was considered, elite players completed an increased distance than the sub-elite across all positions (η2 = 0.526, large). The current data are the first to show differences in positional anthropometric and performance profiles between standards of play within hurling. Applied practitioners should consider these normative data when implementing training programs to maximize position-specific preparation for competition. Furthermore, these data could improve the considerations regarding the transitioning of players from the sub-elite to the elite level of play.
January 05, 2021
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.
January 5, 2021
Analysis of body composition is commonly conducted as a performance-profiling marker of Gaelic football players. Excess body fat is deemed unsatisfactory in athletic performance as it may hinder performance where body mass (BM) must be accelerated during running, or lifted against gravity in aerial contests. Due to this negative impact of excess adipose tissue, a body composition difference be- tween starters and non-starters may be one of several factors to consider during the team selection process.
January 07, 2021
Purpose: To examine the association between the metabolic power paradigm during training and match-play and objective aerobic fitness measures within elite Gaelic football players. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusions: 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.
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.
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.
October 9, 2021
The current study examined the reliability of a novel Gaelic football match simulation protocol (GFSP) that simulates the match-specific activity demands of elite Gaelic football match-play.
After familiarisation, 16 male Gaelic footballers performed the GFSP on two occasions, 7–10 days apart to determine the reliability of a range of team sport performance indicators.
The total distance (TD), high-speed running distance (HSRD) and sprint distance were 8479 ± 594 m, 2349 ± 308 m and 651 ± 319 m, respectively. In addition, decrements in TD (− 2.4%), HSRD (− 11.2%) and sprint distance (− 32.6%) from first to second half were observed. There was no significant difference between repeated trials of the GFSP for all running performance and physiological measurements. The GFSP demonstrates good