The influence of match outcome on running performance in elite Gaelic football

Introduction: Match outcome has been linked to running performance in many sports; however, the association has not yet been examined in Gaelic football. Methods: GPS technologies (4-Hz, VX Sport,Lower Hutt, New Zealand) were used with 5 elite Gaelic football teams over a period of 5 years (2012–2016), amounting to 95 matches. In total, 780 full match data sets were collected. Game movements were divided into total distance and high-speed distance (≥17 km h−1). Match outcomes were divided into big losses (≥6 points), small losses (≤5points), draws, small wins (≤5 points) and big wins (≥6points). Results: Team (P ≤ 0.001), playing position (P ≤ 0.001) and match outcome (P ≤ 0.034) had a significant effect on total and high-speed distance. In the first (P = 0.008) and second (P = 0.002) quarters of games players ran significantly less high-speed distance in big losses in comparison to draws. In the fourth quarter, players ran significantly less high-speed distance in big losses than in draws (P = 0.001), small wins (P = 0.044) and big wins (P = 0.011). Conclusion: The current study confirms that running performance is a contributing factor to match outcome in Gaelic football. Coaches should be aware how contextual factors can influence running performance.

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