ATU hosts major conference “Digital Innovation in Sport” (Thursday 23 May 2024)

Monday, May 13, 2024 Press Office
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ATU hosts major conference “Digital Innovation in Sport” (Thursday 23 May 2024)

International soccer player Niamh Fahey and international basketball player and coach Michael Bree lead panel of sports stars and experts on sports, exercise and nutrition

Atlantic Technological University (ATU) is hosting a major conference on the role of technology in sports participation, business and performance, at its Galway (Dublin Road) campus on Thursday 23 May 2024. Organised by the ATU Department of Sport, Exercise, and Nutrition, Galway campus, the inaugural Digital Innovation in Sport Conference is being held in association with Data 2 Sustain, Sports Tech Ireland and Sport Ireland. It is for staff and volunteers across all sporting organisations who want to connect with Sports Tech companies and other sports bodies to understand how technology can work best for them.  With over 12,000 sports clubs and organisations in Ireland, this event provides a unique opportunity for the Sports Tech Industry to engage with their customer base.

Headlining the discussion panel on “Technology and the Performance Process” is Galway’s Niamh Fahey and Sligo’s Michael Bree.  Niamh is a former GAA All-Star and All Ireland winner in ladies Gaelic. However, she is better known as a professional soccer player.  She has 111 international caps for Ireland and has been a professional since 2008 when she joined Arsenal.  She had successful periods of time at Chelsea and Bordeaux and is currently signed with Liverpool.  She was a member of the Irish team that competed in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2023. Niamh holds a BSc in Science, and MSc in Pharmacology and is currently studying for an MBA. She was awarded an Honorary Fellowship for her outstanding sports achievements by ATU in 2022.

Michael Bree is a former Superleague and Irish international basketball player. Hailing from Sligo, Michael spent four years as a point guard with the NCAA Division 1 Davidson College in North Carolina.  He represented Ireland at all levels and is a former captain of the Irish Junior and Senior Men’s team.  He played professional basketball for eight years in France, Germany, Spain, Poland and Sweden.  He has coached national teams in Sweden and Denmark, is a fully certified FIBA Coach and is currently the head coach of the BK RIG Mark elite basketball academy in Sweden. Under his leadership, the RIG Mark academy has had 14 NCAA D1 scholarships, 20 professional contracts and helped produce Sweden’s first RIG NBA prospect who is expected to be drafted in the first round of NBA this June.

The session on “Technology and the Performance Process” will focus on the management and tracking of athlete development and wellness, the use of technology to capture, understand and predict performances and the deployment of technology to accelerate athlete learning.  Niamh and Michael are joined by Johnny Bradley, performance analyst with RTE, and All Ireland club football champions Glen, Brian Hughes, pathway manager of Paralympics Ireland, Mikey Kiely, strength and conditioning coach with Connacht Rugby, and Emma Meehan, award-winning innovator and founder of Precision Sports Technology, a Galway start-up based in the ATU iHub, and one of three finalists in the Irish Times Innovation Awards 2023.  They were awarded “Best Emerging Technology Startup” by the IT Association of Galway (ITAG) in 2023.  Their focus is delivering real-time feedback to athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and patients as they are performing the exercises.

“Operational Success” will be the focus of the other panel discussion. It will look at the business of sport, using technology to support participation and how to better enable fan and customer engagement.  Tomás Meehan, Chief Technical Officer GAA and double Al Ireland winner with Galway Senior County Football, Anne McCormack, CEO, Hockey Ireland​, Lyn Savage, National Development Manager, LGFA, Warren Healy, CEO, Clubforce​, Grainne Barry, Director, SportsTech Ireland, and Mike Tobin, Facilities Development Officer, Craughwell Athletics, will discuss everything from data storage, internal communications, ticketing, social media, streaming, eSports and smart stadia.

The MC on the day will be pundit, columnist, and former Irish rugby player Bernard Jackman who will chair two panel discussion with athletes, coaches, and industry specialists. 

Conor Carmody of the Skillnet Innovation Exchange will explain how they are connecting sports organisations facing digital transformation challenges to SMEs who can fast-track the solutions. Conor will outline the recent success of the Innovation Exchange programme with HorseSport Ireland and explain how others can avail of their expertise.

Keynote speaker Professor Sam Robertson, Professor of Sports Analytics at Victoria University (Australia) will present on “Tech Strategy: your sport’s next competitive advantage” and outline his Sports Technology Quality Framework.  This is a standardised framework to guide the effective and efficient evaluation of sport technologies for those looking to integrate technology to their sport.

Food and refreshments will be provided to refuel and network throughout the day, while there will also be exhibitors on site to help explore potential sports technology solutions for participants’ needs including Epic Global Agency, Rugby Smarts, Galvia AI and Avenir Sports.

Damien Costello, Head of Department of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, ATU Galway, says: Technology use in sport is accelerating and we are delighted to bring together a dynamic group of people with a focus on making technology accessible at all levels, from the grass roots to the podium”.

A full schedule for the event is available below. Tickets are €55 and are available via Eventbrite by searching for Digital Innovation for Sport 24.

For information on programmes in ATU’s Dept of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, please click here

Picture captions [Photos courtesy of Niamh Fahey and Michael Bree]

Digital Innovation in Sport conference in ATU Galway on Thursday 23 May.


Regina Daly, Atlantic TU Communications 
Tel: +353 (0)91 742826 Mob: +353 (0)879618355