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Delegates at a sports Conference in WIT

Delegates at a sports Conference in WIT

Delegates at a sports conference in WIT heard Leicester City are also approaching top of the table for type II diabetes prevalence in the UK

Dr Deirdre Harrington from the University of Leicester delivered the keynote on the roles of sports science and physical activity in tackling global issues such as obesity and type II diabetes at the third All-Ireland Postgraduate Research Conference in Sport Sciences, Physical Activity and Physical Education at WIT on Friday 29 April.

Dr Harrington, who grew up in Cork, also spent three years as a researcher in Louisiana, where there is also a high prevalence of obesity and diabetes. In her talk, she drew comparisons between the barriers to physical activity in Louisiana and Leicester and gave recommendations for researchers in Ireland seeking to deliver impact-focused research on this topic.


Best oral presentation winner and WIT postgraduate researcher Fionn McSwiney presented the findings from an ongoing study looking at the effects of a high fat low carbohydrate diet versus a high carbohydrate diet on endurance performance.

According to his research, participants undertaking the high-fat diet showed significantly greater reductions in fat mass and significantly greater improvements in endurance performance compared to the high carbohydrate diet group. Fionn graduated from the BA in Exercise and Health Studies at the Institute in 2014 before beginning his postgraduate research work.

Overtraining and burnout in athletes was the focus of the second keynote lecture delivered by Dr Giles Warrington from the University of Limerick. Dr Warrington pointed to the important distinction between overtraining and under-recovery and also to the huge importance of sleep and common-sense monitoring of athletes wellbeing. Dr Warrington has a wealth of experience in this area as the sports science advisor to the Olympic Council of Ireland and a member of the Irish medical team at the Athens, Beijing and London Olympic Games. 

Speaking about the conference, Dr Aoife Lane, Head of Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Science said “We were delighted to host the All Ireland Postgraduate Conference in Sport Sciences, Physical Activity and Physical Education here in WIT.  We have a vibrant postgraduate community in the Department and fantastic staff who provide research opportunities for graduates, each helping to enhance our profile on a national and international level.  It was fitting therefore that we were only the second Institute to host this new conference.  I would like to extend a huge thanks to Dr Michael Hanlon and all of those who helped to organise the event.”


The conference featured 75 presentations on current research being undertaken at 13 different institutes/universities across Ireland, including 18 presentations by researchers from the Department of Health, Sport and Exercise Sciences at WIT. 

Three students/graduates from WIT’s MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology also presented at the conference, including Tony Óg Regan (ex-Galway Senior inter-county hurler) who presented on the transition into retirement for inter-county GAA players. Tony’s presentation highlighted the social and emotional adjustments that occur on retirement, particular in players that did not have full control over retiring and also in players with a strong athletic identity. The presentation also included a recommendation for county boards to implement a mandatory career transition support programme to help deal with these issues.

Five prizes were awarded at the close of the conference:
Best overall oral presentation: Fionn McSwiney (Waterford Institute of Technology)
Best visual Poster: Michael Donohoe (Athlone Institute of Technology)
Best impact-focused oral presentation: Alex Donoghue (Waterford Institute of Technology)
Best impact-focused poster: Katie Andrews (University of Limerick)
Best social media interaction: Hannah McCormack (University of Limerick) 

For information about research or study in the Department of Health, Sport & Exercise Science at WIT, visit http://www.wit.ie/dhses.

Related Courses

Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Exercise Sciences (Common Entry)
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Sport & Exercise Science
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Nutrition & Exercise Science
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Health & Exercise Science
Master of Science in  Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology
Bachelor of Science (Honours) in  Sports Coaching & Performance

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