Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Carson, B.P.
In proceeding of: Proceedings of Sixth Physical Education, Physical Activity and Youth Sport (PE PAYS), At Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Ireland
Optional Fields

Gaelic Games are the indigenous sports played in Ireland, the most popular being Gaelic football and hurling. The games are contact sports and the physical demands are thought to be similar to those of Australian Rules football, rugby union, rugby league, field hockey, and lacrosse (Delahunt et al., 2011). The difference in chronological age between children in a single age group is known as relative age and its consequences as the RAE, whereby younger players are disadvantaged (Del Campo et al., 2010). The purpose of this study was to describe the physical and performance profile of sub-elite juvenile Gaelic Games players and to establish if a RAE is present in this cohort and any influence physiological moderator variables may have on this. Following receipt of ethical approval (EHSREC11-45), six sub-elite county development squads (Under-14/15/16 age groups, male, n=115) volunteered to partake in the study. Anthropometric data including skin folds and girths were collected. A number of field tests of physical performance including 5 and 20m speed, vertical and broad jump distance, and an estimate of VO2max were carried out. Descriptive data are presented as Mean ± SD. Juvenile sub-elite Gaelic Games players aged 14.53 ± 0.82 y were 172.87 ± 7.63 cm tall, had a mass of 64.74 ± 11.06 kg, a BMI of 21.57 ± 2.82 kg.m-2 and 9.22 ± 4.78 % body fat. Flexibility, measured by sit and reach was 33.62 ± 6.86 cm and lower limb power measured by vertical and broad jump were 42.19 ± 5.73 and 191.16 ± 25.26 cm, respectively. Participant time to complete 5m, 20m and an agility test (T-Test) was 1.12 ± 0.07, 3.31 ± 0.30 and 9.31 ± 0.55 s respectively. Participant’s estimated VO2max was 48.23 ± 5.05 Chi-Square analysis of birth month by quartile (Q1 = January-March) revealed that a RAE was present in this cohort, whereby an over-representation of players born in Q1 compared with Q2, Q3 and Q4 was evident (χ2 = 14.078, df = 3, p = 0.003). Kruskal-Wallis analysis of the data revealed no significant difference in any of the performance parameters based on quartile of birth (Alpha level = 0.05).This study provides a physical performance profile of juvenile sub-elite Gaelic Games players, comparable with those of other sports such as soccer and rugby. This novel data can inform us of the physical requirements of the sport. The evidence of a RAE is similar to that observed in other contact sports such as soccer and rugby league (Carling et al, 2009; Till et al, 2010). Although a RAE exists in this cohort, this cannot be explained by any physical/physiological moderator variables.





Figure 1: Quarterly distribution of birth month

Footballers (n=115) Q1: Born January to March; Q2: Born April to June; Q3: Born July to September; Born October to December. *p<0.01








Delahunt, E., McEntee, B.L., Kennelly, C., Green, B.S., Coughlan, G.F. (2011) ‘Intrarater reliability of the adductor squeeze test in gaelic games athletes’, Journal of Athletic Training, Vol. 46, no. 3, pp. 241-5.

Del Campo, D.G., Vicedo, J.C.P., Villora, S.G. Jordan, O.R.C. (2010) ‘The Relative Age Effect in Youth Soccer Players from Spain’, Journal of Sport Science and Medicine, vol. 9, no. 1, pp.190-198.

Carling, C., le Gall, F., Reilly, T., and Williams, A.M. (2009) ‘Do anthropometric and fitness characteristics vary according to birth date distribution in elite youth academy soccer players?’, Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sport, vol. 19, 3-9.

Delorme, N., Boiche, J., and Raspaud, M. (2010) ‘Relative age effect in elite sports: Methodological bias or real discrimination’, European Journal of Sport Science, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 91-96.

Till, K., Cobley, S., Wattie, N., O'Hara, J., Cooke, C., Chapman, C. (2010) ‘The prevalence, influential factors and mechanisms of relative age effects in UK Rugby
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