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GAA Nua? Dara Ó Cinnéide On Whether Technology Is Overcomplicating Simple Games In GAA


GAA Nua has been the talk of the country in recent weeks, as the four-part series takes a look at the modern advances in the game.

Presented by Dara Ó Cinnéide, the show explores how the games have changed since the three-time All-Ireland winner was in his pomp.

With clichés flying around that training and research in the games have hit levels akin to professional sports, Ó Cinnéide explained to The 16th Man podcast about the motivation behind putting together this documentary.

“You had been told so often that the game has changed. A lot of the training methods we had as players have become obsolete.

“Wouldn’t it be a good idea if we explored the nature of how the game is changing?”

Following the airing of the first episode, a lot was made about the technology on show, including Kildare footballers’ occlusion goggles and Waterford hurling’s data collection applications. However, the airing of the episode was unfortunately-timed from a Déise perspective, coming 24 hours after their loss to Cork in Munster semi-final.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A Quarter-Final, Pearse Stadium, Co. Galway 2/4/2017 Galway vs Waterford Waterford manager Derek McGrath Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Mike Shaughnessy

Is there a danger of teams focusing too much on the final 1% of their preparations, without correctly catering for the basic training, putting in the hard yards on the field with basic shooting drills, etc.?

“I would say that’s a major danger to any coach on the sideline.

“There is a danger that you could focus way too much on that 1/2%. Advocates of sports science and technology such as Cian O’Neill are well aware of that as well.

“The Eamonn Fitzmaurices, Jim Gavins, etc. are still very much people-centred, focused on getting the right people on the sideline rather than the right gadgets on the sideline.

“It’s still human-driven and people-driven, there’s just a lot more information available, and what they’re doing with that is driving that change.”

While there are certainly advances in technology, Ó Cinnéide feels that the fundamental values will always remain.

“We visited St Jude’s [GAA club in Dublin], who use a FitLight data to analyse their sprinting.

“It replaces the whistle and the stopwatch. It looks better, it runs better, it gives you more recordable data. But I’m not sure it makes you run faster.

“It’s helpful, but it’s not the be-all and end-all, and that’s been the over-riding message all the way through.”

The third episode of the series airs on Monday evening at 7:30pm on RTÉ 1.

You can hear the entire interview on The 16th Man podcast below, starting at 36 minutes:

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Author: The PA Team

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