Paralympics Ireland today announced a formal agreement with the Sport Ireland Institute that will see both organisations work together in partnership to support the para athletes on their journey to Tokyo 2020.
As part of the agreement the Sport Ireland Institute will provide services to Irish Para Athletes and Team Ireland and will also provide sports science and medical support staff as part of the Irish Paralympic team that travels to next year’s games.
Sport Ireland Institute staff will form a major part of the Paralympics Ireland Sports Science and Medical team at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Alan Swanton will provide performance analysis solutions, Emma Saunders will provide performance life skills support, David Tobin will be the nutritionist with the team, Noel Murphy will be the strength and conditioning support and Ciara Sinnott O’Connor will be the team’s performance physiologist.
Denis Toomey, Chef de Mission for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, said ‘We are delighted to have the support of the Sport Ireland Institute at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The Sport Ireland Institute staff will make a great addition to Paralympics Ireland’s own sports science and medical team. The Sport Ireland staff are already very familiar with our Paralympic Athletes and that trust that has been built up over time will be a major boost to the team as we prepare for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.’
Miriam Malone, CEO of Paralympics Ireland said ‘We are delighted to formalise this partnership with the Sport Ireland Institute that has been of great support to Paralympics Ireland for the past number of years.’
Liam Harbison, Director of the Sport Ireland Institute said ‘We are delighted to have signed a formal partnership with Paralympics Ireland to provide performance support services for Tokyo 2020. We are also pleased to have five our team from the Sport Ireland Institute appointed to the Irish Paralympic Team for Tokyo. We look forward to supporting the athletes and their support teams in the build up to what promises to be a fantastic Paralympic Games. We wish them all the very best of luck in their efforts to qualify for and at the Games.’
Paralympics Ireland Sports Science and Medical Team
Dr. Martin McConaghy
Dr. Martin McConaghy qualified from Queen’s University Belfast in 1997 and has worked in sports medicine since 2001. Martin is the Chief Medical Officer for Paralympics Ireland and is the Sports Medicine Doctor in The Ulster Sports Medicine Clinic. Martin has previously worked with Munster Rugby, the Irish International Rules team, the Armagh Senior Gaelic Football Team, the Ulster Railway Cup team and Belfast Harlequins.
Paul Conneely has been working as the Medical Services Co-Ordinator since 2018. He is the lead physio therapist to the Irish Paralympics team and provides physiotherapy support to elite Para Athletes. He has previously worked with UCD rugby, the Irish men’s hockey team and the Meath GAA Development squads.
Physiotherapist, David Greene, is mainly based in Connolly Hospital, Dublin. David is an avid sportsman and has experience across multiple sports as both a player and physiotherapist.
Sport Psychologist Steven McIvor has more than 11 years experience having been a professional rugby player himself with Munster and Ireland. Steven has worked with the IRFU and will be part of the Paralympics Ireland team again having worked in the same role at the Rio Paralympic Games.
Barry Keogh is a physiotherapist with the Irish Paralympic team and will bring his experience of working with Leinster Rugby, the Carlow Senior GAA team and Moorefield GAA in Kildare.
Alan Swanton heads up performance analyst support at the Sport Ireland Institute and has over 10 years’ experience providing performance analysis solutions to a wide range of Olympic & Paralympic sports. Within Paralympics he has provided support in Cycling, Swimming & Athletics and this will be his fourth Paralympics Games at which he has delivered either sport science or performance analysis support. His focus is to work closely with the coach using video and objective performance related data to access, track and identify technical and tactical improvements which can be made in any athletes performance.
Emma Saunders works in the performance life-skills support team in the Sport Ireland Institute. Within this role, Emma works with athletes helping them develop their skills to manage their own performance environment. She is also a lecturer in the department of sport and exercise science in Waterford Institute of Technology. Emma is currently completing her PhD in the area of student athlete transitions and social support.
David is a performance nutritionist at the Sport Ireland Institute working across a range of Olympic and Paralympic Sports including athletics, cycling and swimming. He most recently provided support to the Para-Swimming team at the World Championships in London.
Noel has worked as a strength & conditioning (S&C) coach at the Sport Ireland Institute across a range of Paralympic & Olympic sports including Para-swimming, Para-cycling, Para-athletics, swimming, diving, hockey.
He has provided S&C support as part of a multidisciplinary team across the Rio and Tokyo cycles.
Dr. Ciara Sinnott O’Connor:
Dr Ciara Sinnott O’Connor is the Physiology Lead Consultant at the Sport Ireland Institute. She completed her PhD in Paralympic physiology and has worked extensively with Paralympic athletes during the Rio and Tokyo cycles.