Prof. Sharon Madigan

RD, BSc, MSc, PhD, SENr, FFSEM (Hon)

Prof. Sharon Madigan is a Dietitian (1995) (HCPC) and has a background in nutrition education (PhD 2002) and applied practice. Sharon currently works in high performance sport. She has also significant experience as a clinical dietitian working with a range of medical conditions including gut health and IBS, diabetes, weight loss, cancer, eating disorders and individuals who required tubes in place to be able to eat.  She still currently works in Respiratory medicine with patients with lung disease and long covid. She has a PhD in Nutrition Education.

She is responsible for delivery and coordination of nutrition services for elite Irish athletes across a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports and has worked with a number of world, Olympic and Paralympic medalists. 

Sharon’s main research interests focus on the interaction between diet and health and diet and sports performance including:

  • Energy deficiency and its relationship with injury, illness, bone health and performance.
  • Vitamin D and athletic performance
  • Vitamin D and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Gut health and sports performance.
  • Nutrition and sleep in elite sport.
  • Female Health and Performance

She is currently the Chair of the Sports Nutrition Interest Group of the British Dietetics Association and represents this group on the board of the SENr. She is also on the board of the Professional in Sport and Exercise.

She has worked for many years successfully helping prepare athletes to remain health and perform at the highest level. She has delivered nutrition support to athletes over five Olympic cycles and other major championships such as European, World and EU championships. As well as working with individual athletes has been involved with the science and medical committee of the OFI in the planning and logistics at two camp bases. She was awarded a Hon Fellowship of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, RSCI in Sept 2016.

Sarah Jane McDonnell

BSc Hons in Physiotherapy, 1998

She has practiced physiotherapy in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia before completing a Masters in Sports Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland, Australia in 2004. She was a member of Team Ireland at the 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2021 Olympics. She has a Masters in Exercise Science in Strength and Conditioning in 2010 and is a trained Pilates instructor in mat work and reformer.

Dr. Ciara Sinnott O’Connor

Dr. Ciara Sinnott O’Connor is an experienced physiologist with a PhD in the area of recovery post exercise. Currently she is Head of Physiology at Sport Ireland Institute, delivering and co-ordinating physiology support for elite Irish athletes across a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports. Working in high performance sport since 2012, Ciara has many years of experience in delivering physiology support at camps and competition including multiple World Championships, European Championships, Olympics and Paralympic Games. She became Head of Physiology at Sport Ireland Institute in 2018, was a member of the OFI Science and Medicine committee for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and appointed Lead Physiologist for 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games. Day to day, she runs testing of high-performance athletes both lab and field based, assessing training adaptations and recovery physiological parameters including VO2 max and resting metabolic rate (RMR).

She has her primary sport science degree from Dublin City University (2008), an MSc in Exercise Physiology from Loughborough University (2011) and a PhD from University of Limerick (2018). Her PhD research investigated load monitoring in elite Paralympic athletes and the implications for training and recovery. Alongside her role within the Sport Ireland Institute, she is currently involved in co-supervision of multiple research projects examining carbohydrate intake and bone injuries in endurance athletes, position optimization for cycling performance and female health in performance.

Martina McCarthy OLY

Innovative performance coach applying evidence based practice with 20 years’ experience unlocking and optimising human performance potential.  Dynamic solution focused approach to optimising human health and performance, with a passion for building and developing high performing teams that develop bespoke solutions individual client’s needs. Application of a reverse engineering data informed approach to optimise athletic and health development to maximise performance outputs.

Julianne Ryan

MSc BSc MISCP, CORU registered.

Julianne Ryan is a Senior Physiotherapist with many years

Julianne brings years of physiotherapy and vestibular rehabilitation expertise to The Balance Centre. Her years of practice include assessing and treating people experiencing dizziness, vestibular dysfunction and balance issues, along with those experiencing persistent symptoms post-concussion.

Julianne combines her role in The Balance Centre alongside her position in Sport Ireland Institute. This involves the ongoing preparation with athletes for competitions and this summer’s Tokyo Olympic games, where she has been appointed a key member of the HQ team. Her previous physiotherapy roles in sport involve: 5+ years with the senior boxing high performance team (across numerous competitions including the Olympic Games in 2016) and senior men’s hockey (including World Cup in 2018).
Julianne has completed numerous professional courses including; Myofascial trigger point therapy and Dry Needling, Vestibular Rehabilitation (paediatric and adult), Return to Play (injury and concussion), Sports Traumatology to name a few. She believes strongly in educating a person regarding their symptoms and using a multi modal approach in their rehabilitation.

Dr. Katie Lydon

MB BCh BAO MRCPI MSc SEM (Bath) BSc Sports and exercise (Loughborough)

Katie is a GP trainee, having previously completed her medical training and masters in Sports and Exercise Medicine. She was appointed Team Ireland medical physician at the Tokyo Paralympic Games and previously held the role of team doctor with the Dublin Senior Ladies Football team and the Irish Men’s Hockey Team. Katie is passionate about physical activity and exercise prescription in all populations. She has a particular interest in female athlete health and her research centres on the management of menstrual disorders in this population.

Jo Hopkins

Passionate about performance, working in partnership with individuals to identify, understand and enable change. 

A former International athlete, International coach and Director of Performance within the realm of High performance sport, she has over 20 years of experience delivering individual support and designing tailored programmes to develop personnel within the Performance environment. Her current role as Director of Jo Hopkins Consulting sees her collaborating with various Performance sport and Executive Development agencies, to develop programs to empower individuals and teams to enhance performance. A key focus of her role has been providing support to both the British Olympic Association and UK Sport programmes (Elite Coach Developers; Elite Coaches; Mentor Development; Performance Directors). Most recently in her capacity as Performance Mentor for Team GB Performance Services Team, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.

Prof Giles Warrington


Giles Warrington is Head of Department and a Professor of Sport and Exercise Physiology in the Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences (PESS) at the University of Limerick. He previously worked for 10 years as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Health and Human Performance at Dublin City University. Prior to moving into academia in 2006, Giles worked for 12 years at the National Coaching and Training Centre where he was Head of Player/Athlete Services where he developed and oversaw the implementation of the International Carding Scheme for elite and developmental Irish Athletes. Giles was also previously employed by the British Olympic Association, where he worked as an Exercise Physiologist at the British Olympic Medical Centre. Giles is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine and a Sport Ireland Institute accredited Performance Physiologist

His research interests currently reside in six areas: 1) Factors influencing athletic performance 2) Human performance evaluation 3) Weight regulation and weight category Sports 4) Environmental Physiology 5) Chronobiology and sleep science 6) Training methodology. In total Giles has published over 80 peer reviewed journal publication and over 100 conference abstracts.

Between 2002 -2016, Giles was Head Performance Physiologist and Sports Science Lead to the Olympic Council of Ireland and was a member of the Irish Medical Teams at the Athens, Beijing and London and Rio Olympic Games. He was also Director of the pre-Games training camps for the London and Rio Olympic Games. Over the course of his 30 year career in high performance sport Giles has worked with and advised a wide number of sports, coaches and athletes including over 80 European, World and Olympic Medallists.

Ruth Wood Martin, RD, MSc, SENR

Ruth is a Dietitian with over 20 years’ experience in clinical dietetics in the National Health Service (NHS).  Having completed post-graduate education in the field of Performance Nutrition, she worked with several athletes from various sports in the Sports Institute Northern Ireland (SINI), before taking up a full-time position as the Performance Nutritionist with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) in 2006, working primarily with the Senior Men’s squad.

After 16 years of service as the Head of Nutrition with the IRFU, she has recently retired (2022) from this position, having developed a nutrition team of 11 Performance Nutritionists across the Elite Player Pathway and professional rugby on the island of Ireland.

She currently is an assessor for entry onto the Sport and Exercise Nutrition Register (SENR).

Ruth believes that food is much more than just fuel for the body.  Sharing good food with your friends and family helps form connections that are healthy for both our mind and body.

Emma Galvin

Senior Physiotherapist Exeter Chiefs 

Previously Senior Physiotherapist Connacht Rugby, & Lead Physiotherapist IRFU National Men’s 7s Program

Lead Physiotherapist Athletics Ireland, Olympic Games London & Rio

Special interests: 

  • Rehabilitation & reconditioning post long term injury 
  • Running load planning & progression (GPS), specifically for player reintegration post long term injury 
  • Neuromuscular profiling for rugby
  • Speed, Acceleration & Deceleration rehabilitation and development for Team Sports

Jason Ellis, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychology, Northumbria University, Director, Northumbria Sleep Research Laboratory

Dr. Ellis is a Professor of Sleep Science and Director of Northumbria Sleep Research in the United Kingdom. He is a qualified Somnologist – Expert in Behavioural Sleep Medicine from the European Sleep Research Society and a Practicing Psychologist under the HCPC. He splits his time between his basic research interests: the pathophysiology of sleep disorders (Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome, and Circadian Rhythm Disorders) and his applied work on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Within the latter framework he examines the impact of novel adjunct therapies, the influence of social factors on adherence, and the effective delivery of CBT-I in complex cases and environments.  He has worked within the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, delivering CBT-I to individuals with a range of physical and psychological conditions and serves on the editorial boards of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Sleep Health. He is also the current chair of the research committee for the British Sleep Society. He has consulted for various industries and third-sector organisations and provided national guidelines to the British and Scottish governments on the identification and management of sleep problems. He is a serious advocate of public engagement and professional education with regard to behavioral sleep medicine and regularly trains CBT-I and fatigue mnagement workshops to clinicians and primary care physicians in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Aoibheann Swail MSc, SENr, ANutr

Aoibheann is a Qualified Associate Nutritionist (ANutr). She graduated with a MSc in Human Nutrition from the University of Ulster, Coleraine. She is a Graduate registrant on the Sports and Exercise Nutrition Registrar (SENr), with a strong interest in team sport nutrition. Team nutritionist for two senior inter-county Gaelic Football teams; Cavan Senior Men and Armagh Senior Ladies (AGLFA). She completed her MSc research study investigating the nutritional knowledge and nutritional status of Gaelic sport players, both male and female. She has a passion for nutrition education in sport, helping athletes improve their nutritional practices, and in turn achieve their full performance potential.

Part-time Health Promotion Officer with Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS), NI’s leading charity working to prevent chest heart and stroke conditions. Assisting the provision of NICHS workplace wellbeing programme, performing health checks in workplaces to help raise awareness of how employees/individuals can improve their diet and lifestyle choices to help minimise their risk of chest heart and stroke conditions.


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