This month marks the start of this year’s NI Science Festival, which will see over 180 events exploring the wonders of science, technology engineering and maths.

Sport NI is excited to be part of the festival and we will be holding two ‘Sport Insight’ evenings which will both be hosted by Sports Correspondent, Denise Watson.

The first talk on Monday 19th February and is called ‘Sports Insight – Pursuing Performance Improvement’ and will include an expert panel from the Sports Institute at Jordanstown. The talk will concentrate on lessons in profiling, prescribing and monitoring training in order to gain performance improvement and the importance of high performance behaviours in the journey to success.

Speakers on the night will include:

  • Gary Longwell, Performance Skills Coach at the Sports Institute who’s a former Irish Rugby player and was a member of Ulster Rugby’s European winning side.
  • Ricky McCann is a sports physiologist at the Sports Institute who has provided the sport science support to Michael O’Neill’s NI Football team the recent European Nations Cup and World Cup Qualification campaigns.
  • David Lasini Head of Strength & Conditioning at the Sports Institute, has worked at the Australian Institute of sport and also UK Sport. David led the physical preparation of Australian Men’s Hockey when they were world number 1
  • Roisin Murphy Sports Physiotherapist at the Sports Institute, has worked in the Scottish Institute of sport and with both Scottish Netball and Senior County GAA.
  • Elaine Rice is the Coach to Netball NI Senior Team and is the 2017 winner of High Performance Coach of the Year as well the Belfast Telegraph’s Gold Award for Coach of the Year and will lead the squad into the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast in April.

The second talk on Wednesday 21st February is called ‘Sport Insight – Reloading for the Next Performance’ and will investigate why smart recovery is critical for many sports athletes and the role of sport science to aid recovery. There will be some learning for all from how the best athletes recover.

Participants in this talk include:

  • Damian Martin, Sports Physiologist at the Sports Institute who will lead on sport science support to Team NI at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast. Damian is also experienced working with boxing.
  • Kerry Kirk, Head of Sports Physiotherapy at the Sports Institute Experience has experience working with athletes from a range of sports, in particular with Scottish Rugby 7s and Athletics,
  • Des Jennings, Head of Performance Skills at the Sports Institute, led the coach support to Team NI at the Glasgow Games and will do so again at the Gold Coast.
  • Kevin McGuigan, Performance Analyst at the Sports Institute. Kevin recently joined the Sports Institute and has considerable experience in Gaelic sport in particular Senior County Football.
  • Lorna Cooke Performance nutritionist at the Sports Institute has experience supporting NI athletes in preparation for Commonwealth and Olympic / Paralympic Games.
  • Julia Bone, Performance nutritionist at the Sports Institute. Julia was brought up in New Zealand, worked in the Australian Institute of sport and has recently travelled to join the Sports Institute staff. Julia has experience working in tennis and basketball.
  • Megan Frazer Captain of Ireland Women’s Hockey Squad A world class player who is in the final stages of recovering from a serious injury.

Both sessions are free of charge and will challenge the audience’s thinking and provide important messages for everyone who has an interest in sport improvement whether it’s on an individual or team level.

To book tickets for the free events go to

Pictured: Peter McCabe, Head of Performance Programmes from the Sports Institute, Jordanstown with Sports Correspondent, Denise Watson.