Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2020) 19, 652 - 661

Research article
The Contribution of Gaelic Football Participation to Youth Physical Activity Levels
Kevin W. Gavin , Aoife Lane, Kieran P. Dowd
Author Information
Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Athlone Institute of Technology, N37HD68, Ireland

Kevin W. Gavin
✉ Research Hub, Athlone Institute of Technology, Co. Westmeath, Ireland
Publish Date
Received: 01-05-2020
Accepted: 25-08-2020
Published (online): 19-11-2020
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The primary aim of this study was to describe the contribution of Gaelic football participation to youth physical activity (PA) levels. Secondary aims were to objectively quantify the overall daily PA levels of participants across sex and age, to determine the PA levels achieved during Gaelic football practice sessions and games, and to compare PA levels on days with organized sporting activity (sports days) and days without organized sporting activity (non-sports days). One hundred and sixty adolescents (87 male, 73 female; mean age 14.5 ± 1.8 yrs.) wore an activPAL accelerometer to determine total sitting/lying time, standing time, light intensity physical activity (LIPA), moderate physical activity (MPA), vigorous physical activity (VPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during a seven day measurement period, including during Gaelic football participation. Participants achieved an average of 58.5 ± 23.6 minutes of MVPA daily. Males accumulated significantly more MVPA daily than females (Males=70.8±22.1 min; Females = 45.5 ± 16.5 min; p < 0.001; ηp² = 0.401) and time spent in MVPA daily significantly decreased with age (p < 0.001; ηp² = 0.299). Participants accumulated significantly more MVPA during games (36.0 ± 9.2 min/hr (60%)) than practice sessions (29.0 ± 8.3 min/hr (48%); p < 0.001; d = 0.80). On sports days, participants accumulated significantly more time in MVPA (Sports Days = 70.1 ± 36.0 min; Non-Sports Days = 54.2 ± 34.0; p < 0.001; d = 0.45) and were 2.16 times more likely to achieve 60 minutes of MVPA (OR = 2.16; 95% CI = 1.60–2.92) than on non-sports days. The results reveal that Gaelic football provides an opportunity for adolescents to accumulate PA, however, participants currently spent more than 50% of their practice time inactive or in low intensity activities. An opportunity remains to enhance the contribution of Gaelic football to overall daily PA levels, by replacing time spent inactive with time in MVPA.

Key words: Adolescent, MVPA, youth sports, accelerometer, guidelines

           Key Points
  • Participation in youth Gaelic football provides an opportunity for adolescents to accumulate MVPA.
  • Gaelic football participation alone is not sufficient for adolescents to meet the MVPA recommendations.
  • Over half of Gaelic football practice time was spent in sitting/lying, standing and LIPA, presenting an opportunity to increase time spent in MVPA.
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