Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance Project – A World-Class Evening of CPD – lauren guilfoyle msc bsc.

It’s been an incredibly successful period in Irish rugby over the past few months with the Women’s Sevens side qualifying for their first-ever Olympics, and both Senior and Under 20 sides’ collecting silverware at the culmination of the 2023 Six Nations Championship. The Under 20s claimed a history-making back-to-back Grand Slam, and their senior counterparts’ won their first ever Grand Slam on home soil at the Aviva. Both sides look ahead to their respective Rugby World Cups – the Under 20s headed to Cape Town in June, while the Senior side will spend the early Autumn in France. A busy period of preparation as one could expect, although representatives of both coaching and support service staff made time to meet and present at the recent Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) continuous professional development (CPD) evening at the IRFU High Performance Centre on the Sport Ireland Campus, Dublin.

The Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance (IRIS) Project is a joint collaboration between the University of Limerick and the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU). The project, led by Principal Investigators Professor Ian Kenny and Dr Tom Comyns, with a team of multi-disciplinary researchers began in 2016 and is currently tasked with the surveillance of injuries in both the amateur adult and school Rugby Union game in Ireland.

Injury recorders are designated in each participating school or club and these individuals provide data across the season as and when injuries occur. To thank these individuals for their time and effort in data collection, the IRFU invited all injury recorders of participating women’s and men’s clubs and schools to an exclusive CPD evening at the IRFU High Performance Centre in Abbotstown, Dublin on Wednesday April 26th.

A PESS PhD graduate of the IRIS Project, Dr Caithriona Yeomans, in her role as IRFU Developmental Game Medical Manager, MC’d the event which was opened by Professor Ian Kenny who noted the work of current PESS PhD students involved in the project – Patrick Dolan, Kilian Bibby and Lauren Guilfoyle. Dr Rod McLoughlin, Medical Director of the IRFU, then welcomed IRIS injury recorders in attendance, thanking them for their efforts and noting the importance and significance of their contribution to player welfare as the Rugby Union landscape changes. To date, the data gathered has been used to shape ENGAGE, the IRFU Readiness and Robustness programme, and is proving valuable as we investigate tackle behaviours and tackle height as part of World Rugby’s opt-in global trial.

Attendees were then treated to a list of world-class presenters. Gary Sweeney, IRFU National Pathway Performance Nutritionist, offered on overview of nutritional considerations to player performance and well-being. IRFU Head of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Dr Phil Glasgow, then spoke of considerations in building resilient and robust rugby players. Ireland U20s Head Coach Richie Murphy offered a coaches’ insight – sharing a typical week structure in-competition and Dr Nick Winkelman, IRFU Head of Athletic Performance and Science, conducted a practical workshop demonstrating a variation of readiness to perform strategies.

A tour of the world-class facilities on offer at the IRFU High Performance Centre then followed – serving as the last stop on a fascinating evening.

Injury surveillance for the 2022/23 season is coming to a close as competitive rugby wraps up before Summer – but the work and participation of clubs and schools to the project is sincerely appreciated.


Lauren Guilfoyle, is a PhD Researcher (Irish Rugby Injury Surveillance Project), in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick.

Contact:, follow on twitter: @laurenguilfoyle. LinkedIn

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