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Huge Turnout For IRFU Fitness Workshop

Huge Turnout For IRFU Fitness Workshop

There was an outstanding turnout of 105 coaches from all over the province of Munster and the surrounding areas for the IRFU – Munster Rugby fitness workshop in Charleville, County Cork recently.

The workshop is part of the IRFU continued professional development programme for fitness coaches. It is one of a series of workshops run in each province in the first quarter of the year in conjunction with the provincial fitness staff.

The workshop is aimed at coaches working at all levels from mini’s to adult. Topics covered on the night were as follows –

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Topic 1: Improving Function, Speed, Strength & Power in Young Players
Presenter: Des Ryan (IRFU Fitness Education Manager)

Topic 2: Olympic Weightlifting For Sport
Presenter: Paudie Roche (Munster Rugby Academy & Age Grade Fitness Coach)

Topic 3: Fitness Training For Rugby
Presenter: Fergal O’Callaghan (Munster Rugby Academy & Age Grade Fitness Coach)

The workshop was both theory and practical based. The workshop was of great use to coaches who wanted to know what is the most appropriate and practical method to develop young and old players.

Also the workshop was ideal for coaches who would like to introduce something new and challenging to their training.

The main message from the night was for coaches to continue their development by attending the following courses:

• IRFU-certified Conditioning Coach course

If you require more information on the above course please contact – Niamh Nash via email or by telephoning (01) 6473835.

When the coach has the above completed they are informed about the Setanta College courses to develop their fitness coaching competences.

• Resistance Training & Weight Training for Sport
• Physical Fitness & Conditioning for Sport

If you require more information on the above courses, please visit www.setantacollege.com.

The next workshop is in Ulster (Ravenhill, Wednesday, March 24) – click here for more.

Many thanks to Munster Rugby for their help in contacting the clubs and schools, and a special thank you to Ultan O’Callaghan for his help in organising the event. 


Des Ryan (IRFU Fitness Education Manager)

Des Ryan is the Fitness Education Manager for the IRFU. Part of his role is to run the IRFU-certified Conditioning Coach course and the IRFU/IAWLA Weightlifting Level 1 & Level 2 courses. Des also manages the continued professional development system for IRFU Fitness Coaches.

His role includes managing the fitness development structures for rugby players under 19 years of age and below. Before Des started his position with the IRFU, he worked for Connacht Rugby for 10 years, working as the head fitness advisor for the Connacht senior squad from 2000 to 2008.

During this time Des has worked with the Ireland ‘A’ rugby squad for three years and assisted with the Ireland senior squad.

Outside of rugby, Des has worked with the Roscommon and Galway senior football panels and has been fitness coach when both counties won a Connacht Senior Football Championship. Des also trained the Galway Under-21 footballers when they won the All-Ireland Under-21 title in 2005. He is currently a tutor with Setanta College who offer courses in the area of fitness and conditioning.

Fergal O’Callaghan (Munster Rugby Academy & Age Grade Fitness Coach)

Fergal O’Callaghan is in charge of managing the Academy and Age Grade Fitness programme in Munster. Fergal was born in Limerick and is a past student of St. Munchin’s College.

His great passion is rowing, which he took up when he was 16-years-old and he has been involved ever since with a huge degree of success. He has four national titles and was a member of the national squad for World Rowing Championships in 1992 (Montreal), 1993 (Prague) and 1995 (Tampere). His best finish was ninth in 1993.

An honorary life member of Shannon Rowing Club, he has a big collection of medals won at international regattas between 1992 and 1996.

O’Callaghan went to UL as a mature student and graduated with a degree in Sports & Exercise Science in 1998. He worked with Young Munster and the NCTC in Limerick before joining Munster in June 1999.

Fergal worked with the Munster senior squad from 1999 to 2008, and during his time Munster have won many honours.

Fergal then transferred to the Academy and Age Grade set-up. He is currently managing the fitness programme for young players in Munster.

Paudie Roche (Munster Rugby Academy & Age Grade Fitness Coach)

Paudie Roche is the Academy and Age Grade fitness coach for Munster Rugby and has been in his current role for the past two years. He works day-to-day with the aspiring professional players in the Munster Academy and with underage players that are playing provincial and international rugby. During his time with Munster he has also worked as the fitness coach for the Irish Under-19 squad.

Paudie graduated from Cork Institute of Technology in 2002 with a Business Studies degree and took up the position as gym manager in the college gym. During his time there he worked part-time with Munster Academy and Age Grade players during the summer programme.

He also worked with various other sports in the college and continued to study part-time, earning the Level (1) Weightlifting Qualification, ACE Personal Trainer and British Weightlifting Association Level (2) Coach award.

After four years, he took up the post of Strength & Conditioning Coach in UCC’s Mardyke Arena and was the first person to hold such a post there. During his time there he worked with a variety of sports such as hockey, athletics, rowing, GAA and sailing.

While in UCC he received the National Strength and Conditioning Association of America’s Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist Award.

After a short term in UCC, Paudie took up his current position in Munster Rugby and in that time has completed the Irish Rugby Football Union Certifed Conditioning Coach award. He is a competitive Olympic weightlifter and is currently preparing for the National Championships in April.