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A comparison of the physiological profiles of elite Gaelic footballers, hurlers, and soccer players
  1. M C McIntyre
  1. Correspondence to:
 M C McIntyre
 Institute of Technology, Tralee, Tralee, Co. Kerry, Republic of Ireland;


Background: Gaelic football, soccer, and hurling are prominent field games in Ireland and involve participants undertaking a variety of playing tasks and skills which place various physiological demands on the participants. The aim of this study was to evaluate and compare the mid-season physiological profiles of elite players.

Methods: Physiological assessment was carried out on 29 inter-county Gaelic footballers, 30 inter-county hurlers, and 21 League of Ireland soccer players.

Results: Significant differences were reported for % body fat (p<0.05), aerobic capacity (p<0.05), flexibility (p<0.05), upper body strength (p<0.05), upper body strength endurance (p<0.05), abdominal endurance (p<0.05), and speed endurance (p<0.05), while there were no differences recorded for height, weight, or speed levels. A relatively heterogeneous body size is evident for all three sports. Soccer players had lower body fat levels, greater aerobic capacity, greater strength endurance, and greater flexibility compared to both Gaelic footballers and hurlers, possibly due to specific training and conditioning programmes or physical adaptation to match play The greater strength of both Gaelic footballers and hurlers and the superior speed endurance levels of Gaelic footballers also reflect the physical nature of the sports. Similar speed levels amongst all three sports reflect the importance of speed for performance.

Conclusions: The various physiological attributes for Gaelic football, soccer, and hurling reflect the physical requirements for success and participation in each of these field games.

  • Gaelic football
  • hurling
  • physiological profile
  • soccer

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  • Competing interests: none declared.