Long-term athletic development of Gaelic games players: An action statement

Des Ryan, Ian Jeffreys, Fionn Fitzgerland, Niall Moyna, Aidan O'Connell, Shayne Murphy, David Kelly, Aaron Kyles, Cairbre O'Caireallain, Bryan Cullen, Alan McCall, Sean Cumming, Rhodri Lloyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gaelic Games play a pivotal role in the Irish sporting culture and are a focal point of the Irish sporting calendar. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation with over 2,200 clubs located in all 32 counties of Ireland. It also has an international presence on all 5 continents (22). The Association today promotes Gaelic games such as Hurling, Football, Handball and Rounders and works with sister organisations The Ladies Gaelic Football Association and The Camogie Association to promote Ladies Football and Camogie respectively. At the pinnacle of the sport is the inter county All-Ireland championships where in the region of 1.5 million people attend the competitions which traditionally run from May to September (although more recently the season has changed from March to July (22) The Gaelic Games Associations also oversee club competitions and so provide opportunities for players to participate and compete at a range of stages across the player pathway (12).
In light of this rich heritage, players are attracted by the opportunity of competing in these historic competitions whilst there is also a vested interest for the Irish counties to cultivate a depth of young sporting talent that can then feed into their senior teams at Therefore, establishing systems and pathways that facilitate appropriate development is beneficial to individual players, Gaelic Games clubs, the counties and ultimately the associations themselves. These pathways have historically been built around sport specific development, yet their ultimate effectiveness depends not only on optimising sport specific enhancement, but on addressing the wider range of factors that ultimately affect performance. One of which is the athleticism.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProfessional Strength & Conditioning
Publication statusAcceptance date - 22 Nov 2022


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