MU and Meath GAA launch sports performance partnership

Pictured at the launch from left to right: Eoghan Frayne (Meath Senior player), Brian O`Halloran (Meath Senior player and MU alumnus), Ciaran Flynn (Meath County Board Secretary), Mary Kate Lynch (Meath Senior player and MU alumna), Ella Moyles (Meath GAA) and Sonia Leonard (Meath Camogie player)
Tuesday, March 12, 2024 - 14:00
Maynooth University and Meath GAA have agreed a programme of collaboration that aims to enhance sports performance and academic opportunities for students.
MU has committed to supporting Meath GAA through the provision of sport science and sport medicine consultancy, access to equipment and facilities, and assistance in the application process for GAA player and coach scholarships.
In return, Meath GAA will offer practical support to Maynooth University through opportunities such as work experience placements for students enrolled in the Department of Sport Science and Nutrition. Meath GAA will also participate in collaborative research that demonstrates a clear performance impact, with the support of squad management.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by both parties at a launch event last night at Meath GAA’s Centre of Excellence in Dunganny. It includes an undertaking by Meath GAA to encourage male and female Gaelic football players to participate in third-level university squads, in accordance with GDPR guidelines and university scholarship application processes.
MU and Meath GAA said the MOU marked “a significant step in bridging the gap between academic pursuits and athletic performance”. The MOU is non-binding and allows for agreements with other parties. It runs for two years until 2026.
“This MOU will strengthen the bond between Maynooth University GAA and Meath GAA athletes, nurturing a strong relationship,” said Jenny Duffy, GAA Development Officer at Maynooth University. “It will also ensure that both male and female GAA players, ladies footballers, and Camogie players from Meath are informed about the educational and high-performance opportunities provided by Maynooth University. With a significant number of Meath alumni having participated in the MUGAA High Performance programme, this collaboration aims to grow this community even more.”
MU already runs a successful sports scholarship programme, awarding over 200 sports scholarships in 2023. Students currently on scholarship include Meath Senior Football and Sigerson players Eoghan Frayne, Ruairi Kinsella, Conor Gray and Billy Hogan. Ella Moyles, Nicole Troy of the Meath Senior Ladies Football team are also on scholarship at MU.
Dr Barry Horgan, Head of Athletic Performance, Meath GAA, said:  “The Maynooth University and Meath GAA partnership is designed to be mutually beneficial for all involved. Numerous inter-county players from Co Meath participate in the excellent Gaelic games programme at Maynooth University GAA Club across both men’s and ladies’ playing codes, ably led by their GAA Development Officer, Jenny Duffy.
“In addition to serving nearly 14,000 students, Maynooth University has also recently expanded its course offering by establishing a Department of Sport Science and Nutrition, with top international sport scientists and researchers such as Dr Jack Hickey and Dr Liam Sweeney joining their staff. This partnership will provide opportunities for Meath GAA players and coaches, as well as Maynooth University students and sport scientists to continue to strive for success by working together, both on and off the pitch.” 
Ciarán Flynn, Meath GAA County Secretary said: “Academic and sporting excellence go hand-in-hand and this is a marvellous opportunity for both organisations. We look forward to working with Maynooth University in nurturing our young players. Thank you to all the stakeholders who brought this to fruition, and we look forward to our partnership bearing fruit.”
Dr Jack Hickey, Assistant Professor in the Department Sport Science and Nutrition, Maynooth University, said: “ The Department of Sport Science and Nutrition at Maynooth University is excited to officially launch our collaboration with Meath GAA. We have been working with staff from Meath GAA on some exciting research projects, which are designed to improve performance and reduce injury risk for their athletes. This collaboration will also provide excellent opportunities for our students to gain invaluable practical experience through placements with Meath GAA.”