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Galway Science & Technology Festival

The Science of Hurling

The Black Box

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Join us for an evening exploring The Science of Hurling – what makes a good hurler a great hurler.

 Science Whos Who

Presenter: Darren Frehill, RTE Sport
Prof Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics and former Tipperary Manager & Coach
Prof Kieran Collins - Director Gaelic Sports Research Centre
Des Ryan - Director of Coaching & Performance, Setanta College.
Niamh Mallon - Performance Nutrition Scientist at Orreco.
Tony Og Regan - Sports Psychologist

The clash of the ash, the strike of the sliotar – could Hurling possibly be one of the best games in the world? It certainly is one of the the fastest games on grass. Passing, blocking, running, tackling - the main physical actions of Hurling and Camogie illustrate some fundamental concepts in physics, biomechanics and math. The GAA are continuing to embrace new technologies in Smart Sliotars, Goal Line Technology and 5G pitches making the game of Hurling faster, smarter and as powerful and entertaining as ever.

Join us for an evening of Hurling, as Darren Frehill from RTE Sports introduces an expert panel of speakers who will take you through some of the key aspects of this great game including the research being undertaken by the Gaelic Sports Research Centre in TU Dublin by Dr Kieran Collins, hear Des Ryan, formerly of the Arsenal Youth Academy talk about strength and conditioning and youth athletic development; Down Camogie All Star, Niamh Mallon, will talk about the great technology being developed by artificial intelligence company Orreco and the Nutrition required to keep a player fueled through training and competitive games; Sports Psychologiest and former Galway hurler Tony Og Regan will talk about the importance of the right mindset to enhance players performance and finally Prof Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics and former Tipperary Manager and Coach, who will give you his thoughts and experience of playing, coaching and winning at inter-county level. Following the talks, there will be a Q&A and you will be afforded the opportunity to put questions to the panel.

Presenter: Darren Frehill, RTE Sport

Darren Frehill is a sports presenter with RTE Sport. He hosts the sports news on the nations most listened to radio show, Morning Ireland on RTE Radio 1. He is a co-host with Jacqui Hurley on the popular Sunday Sport and spend their summers commentating on all the big games at Croke Park. He also reports regularly on the 6.1 News. Darren is from a GAA background and hurling is in his blood, playing from a young age with his club Kiltormer in east Galway. These days he lives in Galway city and is a member of Salthill Knocknacarra club and is a juvenile camogie coach with the club.

Prof Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics and former Tipperary Manager & Coach

Eamon O’Shea is Professor of Economics and Director of the Centre for Economic and Social Research on Dementia at the University of Galway. He is a Health Research Board Research Leader in Dementia where his work has been influential in setting the policy agenda for the care of people with dementia nationally and internationally. In his sporting life, Eamon managed and coached Tipperary at different periods between 2008 and 2021, winning two Senior All Ireland Championships, three Munster Championships and one National League during his time with the squad. Eamon also played for Tipperary, winning Minor All-Ireland, U21 All-Ireland and National League medals. He also played for the Dublin senior hurling team for two years. Eamon won four senior Tipperary county championship medals and an All-Ireland club medal with his club Kilruane McDonaghs.

Prof Kieran Collins, Director – Gaelic Sports Research Centre, TU Dublin – Tallaght Campus.

Kieran’s specialist research area is the physiology of intermittent exercise with a specific focus on the Gaelic sports. His research is focused on:

1. Development of Gaelic games modelling protocols and the comparison of intermittent exercise patterns.

2. Evaluating the physical demands of Gaelic games match-play and the training and testing of players.

3. The impact of training organization on physiological adaptations and injury occurrence.

4. The nutritional requirements of Gaelic games players.

Des Ryan – Director of Coaching & Performance, Setanta College.

Des is one of the leading youth coaches and performance managers in sport and a world-renowned practitioner and speaker in the field of youth athletic development. Prior to Setanta, Des was Head of Sport Medicine & Athletic Development at Arsenal Football Club Academy, which he has held for over eight years and where he has re-shaped the concept of player development within the world of football. He has previously served as Head of S&C at Connacht Rugby, S&C to Ireland and as Fitness Education Manager within the IRFU, where he spent over 13 years developing the IRFU’s coach and player development system.  Des has presented at the UKSCA, ASCA and the NSCA conferences as well as many other conferences around the world. He also has worked as a consultant to World Rugby and the National Cricket academy in India.  Des has a Masters in Strength and Conditioning and an Accredited Strength and Conditioning coach with the UKSCA. He also has achieved the High Performance Sports Accreditation from the British Association of Sports and Exercise Science and is a chartered scientist.

Niamh Mallon Performance Nutrition Scientist at Orreco. 

Niamh works predominantly on the nutrition component of Orreco’s female athlete programme delivering personalised strategies that address the menstrual cycle, performance and recovery across the company’s elite client base. She conducts Orreco’s Redox testing at client sites, providing scientific analysis of blood biomarker data. Niamh holds a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition from Ulster University. She recently began her employment based PhD at Atlantic Technological University in conjunction with Orreco investigating the impact of the menstrual cycle on the exercising population. She also plays Intercounty camogie with Down, operating at the highest level of her sport for a number of years. 

Tony Og Regan – Sports Psychologist

Experienced performance and wellbeing coach Tony Og enables individuals, teams, and organisations unlock the next level in terms of their health, wellbeing and performance through evidence and research-based practices.  Tony has spent over 15 years assisting sports and corporate teams to maximize their performance.  He has an MSC in sports psychology and is an accredited executive coach. His experience stems from spending 10 years as a chartered accountant in the corporate world, an elite athlete with the Galway Senior Hurlers, and working as a performance psychologist with high-performance teams including Tipperary (2016), Munster & All Ireland winners, and Limerick (2019).