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IRFU Fitness Workshop – Ulster

IRFU Fitness Workshop – Ulster

The IRFU and Ulster Rugby in conjunction with Setanta College are delighted to announce that a fitness workshop will be held in the Ravenhill Grounds on the 24th of March. This workshop will be aimed at coaches working at all levels and suitable for all sports.

The topics that will be covered are as follows:

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

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Topic 2: Exercises for the Ulster Sub-Academy Player
Presenter – Chris Shields, Ulster Rugby Sub Academy Fitness Coach

Topic 3: Programme Design for the Ulster Academy Player
Presenter – Kevin Geary, Ulster Rugby Academy Fitness Coach

Topic 4: Introducing Plyometrics and Agility Training
Presenter – Philip Morrow, IRFU High Performance Fitness Manager

The workshop will be both theory and practical based. Ravenhill will be the venue for the workshop.

The workshop will be of great use to coaches who would like to know what is the most appropriate and practical method to develop young and old players.

The workshop is ideal for coaches who would like to introduce something new and challenging to their training, and is open to any coach from any sport – especially from Ulster and the sounding area.

Similar workshops will and have been run in the other provinces. Information on these workshops and others during the year will be found on www.setantacollege.com and www.irishrugby.ie as soon as details are available.

The details for the Ulster workshop are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, March 24

Time: 7pm to 10pm

Venue: Ravenhill grounds (New Stand), 85 Ravenhill Park, Belfast, BT6 0DG

Cost: £25.00

Registration: Places are limited and coaches must register with Niamh Nash (niamh.nash@irfu.ie or tel: (01) 6473835).

The closing date is Friday, March 19 and once registered coaches will receive information and a timetable one week before the course.


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 at Under-19 level 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 Rugby senior squad from 2000 to 2008.

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

Kevin Geary (Ulster Rugby Academy Strength & Conditioning Coach)

Kevin Geary is the Ulster Rugby Academy Strength & Conditioning coach. He works day to day with the professional players in the Ulster Academy and with underage players that are hoping to become part of the Academy structure in the future.

Kevin graduated from Cork Institute of Technology in 2008 with a Bachelors Degree in Recreation and Leisure Management.

During his time there, he started working part time with Munster Rugby during their pre-season, eventually progressing into working full-time as the assistant Strength & Conditioning coach and continued in this role until the end of the 2008/09 season.

Over the past three years, he has taken up the post of Strength & Conditioning Coach in UCC’s Mardyke Arena, working with UCC sports clubs and also completed a diploma in Physical Fitness and Conditioning for Sport through Setanta College, the IRFU-certified Conditioning Coach award as well as the IRFU/ IAWLA Weightlifting Level 1 & 2 courses.

Kevin has been in his current role since the start of the 2009/10 season.

Chris Shields (Ulster Rugby Sub Academy Fitness Coach)

Chris Shields has been a Strength & Conditioning coach with the Ulster Rugby Academy for the past three seasons. After graduating from the University of Ulster, he spent five years studying and working as an athletic therapist in Canada.

His main focus during this period was with the rehabilitation of injured American football players and college athletes.

Chris is an IRFU-certified Conditioning coach, certified Strength & Conditioning specialist (NSCA) and a qualified massage therapist.

He is responsible for the education and development of the Elite Sub-Academy players (aged 15-19 years) in areas such as speed, strength and fitness.

Chris has worked with the Ulster and Irish Schools squads for the past two years and is looking forward to what will hopefully be a successful Five Nations tournament in Wales this Easter.

Philip Morrow (IRFU High Performance Fitness Manager)

Philip was educated at University of Ulster, completing an honours degree in Sports Studies and Masters in Sport and Exercise, specialising in Physiology. He is currently employed as the High Performance Fitness Manager for the IRFU.

Before his current role, he spent five years as the head of Strength & Conditioning for Ulster Rugby.

Philip is currently working with the Ireland Under-20 squad in the RBS U-20 6 Nations Championship. His role includes managing the fitness structure for Academy players in the four provinces.

If you require more information on the workshop, please contact Niamh Nash or tel: (01) 6473835.