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Sport and Covid-19

The advent of the Covid-19 crisis has brought unprecedented challenges to all areas of social, cultural, and economic life. As one of the most popular cultural practices, sport has been particularly impacted with the cancellation since mid-March of most sporting events in countries across the world. Sport has nonetheless continued to occupy an important place in people’s lives and in the contemporary media landscape. This webinar brings together a range of speakers engaging with sport from a variety of perspectives, including sports history, sports governance and policy, sports practitioners and representative organisations, sport and the media, and gender and sport, to consider the impact of the pandemic on sport in Ireland and internationally.


  • Professor Paul Rouse, UCD, one of the leading experts on the history of Irish sport
  • Dr Mary O’Connor, CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport, and All-Ireland winning player and All-Star with Cork in camogie and Gaelic football
  • Dr Niamh Kitching, Mary Immaculate College, whose work focuses on gender equality and sport, including female athletes and coaches
  • Dr Marcus Free, Mary Immaculate College, who specialises on media and sport
  • Dr Borja García, Loughborough University, an authority on sports policy and governance and member of the European Commission’s expert group on sport policy

Further information on participants:

Professor Paul Rouse is based in the School of History at University College, Dublin. He has written extensively on the history of Irish sport, but also works on the global history of sport. Paul’s research also extends to popular culture, the history of the media, and the history of agriculture. He is currently Co-Director of two major public history projects:

* Century Ireland (www.rte.ie/century ireland), the main online portal for the Irish decade of commemorations, 1912-23;

* GAA Oral History Project (www.gaa.ie/the-gaa/oral-history/), the largest oral history project undertaken by any sporting organisation in the world.

Paul’s books include Sport & Ireland: A history (2015) and The Hurlers: The first All-Ireland championship and the making of modern hurling (2018). He also writes a weekly column for the Irish Examiner newspaper.


Dr. Mary O’Connor is CEO of the Federation of Irish Sport. She holds a masters in voluntary and community sector management from University College Cork (UCC). Prior to her current role, she worked with the Camogie Association as director of technical development and participation. She is a regular contributor to sports media, notably on the 20×20 campaign launched in 2018. Mary holds all-Ireland honours in camogie and Gaelic football and All-Star awards in both codes. She was awarded an honorary doctorate from UCC in recognition of her contribution to sport in Ireland.

Dr. Niamh Kitching is a lecturer in physical education at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. She has a wealth of experience of golf environments and settings, having represented Ireland at amateur level and having worked in Junior Golf Ireland and the Professional Golfers’ Association in England and Ireland. Her research interests include the sociology of sport and PE, sports pedagogy and coaching, elite sport, sports development and coach education. Her published research focuses on gender equality and sport, with a particular emphasis on female athletes and coaches, and their presence, participation and presentation in sports and sports media. She has published in a number of sociology-of-sport outputs and edited collections. 

Dr. Marcus Free is a lecturer in media and communication studies at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly collections on the interrelationships between sport, national identity, gender and race in film, print and broadcast media. He is co-author (with John Hughson and David Inglis) of The Uses of Sport: A critical study (Routledge, 2005) and most recently co-editor with Neil O’Boyle of Sport, the Media and Ireland: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, a major new collection published by Cork UP in May 2020.

Dr Borja García is a senior lecturer in Sport Management and Policy in the School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences at Loughborough University. A graduate in media studies (Complutense University, Madrid, Spain), Dr. García worked full time in different national media (including radio and newspapers) for five years before joining the European Parliament’s Madrid office during the 2002 Spanish presidency of the EU. As a result of his academic work, He has advised members of the European Parliament, UEFA or the English FA in matters relating to the European Union’s sports policy. Borja is a founding member of the Association for the Study of Sport and the European Union. He was awarded in 2010 a ‘European Citizen of Honour’ award in the ‘academic’ category by the European think tank Sport & Citizenship and the European Commission. This award recognises the person who best demonstrated through his academic work that sport is a factor of reinforcing European citizenship.

Register: https://tinyurl.com/ycbymxg2