The Energy Demands, Nutritional Knowledge, and Dietary Intake of Adolescent Irish Gaelic Games Players

Research indicates that nutrition knowledge is a modifiable factor that influences the dietary choices of team sport athletes. However, there exists a research gap concerning youth team sport athletes and their nutritional outcomes, particularly among male and female youth Gaelic Games athletes, despite the sport’s substantial participation rates in Ireland and the acknowledged impact of nutrition on growth, development, and performance.

The research project has received funding from the Irish Research Council and is supervised by Dr David Kelly and Dr Ciarán Ó Catháin who have considerable research expertise on the subject area. Neil Irwin, from the Technological University of the Shannon, in partnership with Dublin GAA, will recruit adolescent GAA athletes competing at inter-county level and investigate their nutrition knowledge and dietary intake, to inform and develop nutrition guidelines and recommendations for youth athletes, nutritionists and key stakeholders.

PHD Student

Neil Irwin

Neil holds accreditation on the Sports Exercise Nutrition Register (SENR) Practitioner Register and has worked with Dublin Senior Men’s Football since 2019. His evolving role with Dublin GAA culminated in his appointment as Head of Nutrition in 2021 for the Senior Men’s Football Team. In his capacity as a performance nutritionist, Neil advocates for the role of nutrition towards peak performance and maintaining optimal health. Collaborating closely with a multidisciplinary team, Neil ensures seamless integration of nutritional strategies to enhance both health and performance outcomes.His role has broadened to encompass the development and implementation of nutrition educational support for underage pathways in hurling and Gaelic football with Dublin GAA. Neil served as the lead performance nutritionist for the Irish Senior Men’s Hockey Team from January 2021 until February 2024 and contributed to enhancing elite performance within an international sports team. Neil’s tenure culminated with the team’s successful qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympics.