Alterations in Team Physical Performance and Possession in Elite Gaelic Football Competition

Declan Gamble, Niall Moyna, Richard McCann, Damian Martin, Gerard Mc Mahon, Lee Rooney, Matt Spencer, Jonathan Bradley, Andrew McCarren

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Differences in performance between winning and losing were examined in 1 elite Gaelic football team in 20 games across 2 complete competitive seasons. Possession was codified using Dartfish TeamPro software and distance covered; walking, jogging, running, and running at high and maximum speeds, was evaluated using Catapult OptimEye S5 player tracking devices. Distance covered in low intensity activity (LIA, ˂4.0 m.s-1), high intensity running (HIR, ≥4.0 m·s-1) and very high intensity running (VHIR, ≥5.5 m·s-1) was also examined along with PlayerLoad™, which represented a composite of all accelerations. Data from 53 players (n=405 files) was collated into specific match periods to facilitate a temporal analysis between the first and second halves and from quarter 1 (Q1) to quarter 4 (Q4), with significance accepted at p ≤ 0.05. Total distance and running was higher in games lost, whereas total distance, walking and LIA was higher in halves lost. Only walking was higher in quarters lost. The percentage of possession declined in halves and quarters lost. In games lost, high speed running declined in the second half. From Q1 to Q4; PlayerLoad™, total distance, jogging, high speed running, HIR and VHIR, decreased in all games combined and in games lost. Possession frequency declined in Q4 in all games and in games won. Overall, total distance was higher in games lost and physical performance declines were more pronounced when examined by match quarter compared to half and were only apparent in games lost. Similarly, reductions in possession frequency and percentage were more evident when examined by quarter or period lost, respectively. These findings can inform the prescription of conditioning and field-training strategies to mitigate the reductions in performance observed in losing and towards the end of games.

Keywords: Performance Analysis, Technical, Tactical, GPS, Temporal
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)39
Number of pages48
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 13 Jul 2020


  • Performance Analysis
  • Technical
  • Tactical
  • GPS
  • Temporal


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