A study of injury prevention in young GAA players took the top prize at the second annual PE Expo, hosted by Trinity Comprehensive School in Dublin's Ballymun.
Conor Cantwell of CBS Killkenny - not a hurler but a a rugby player - first of all examined the rate of injury among young GAA players and then took a representative group and put them through a 10-week routine of preventative exercises. The rate of injury toppled.
"The most frequent injury was hamstring strain which accounted for 93% of all injuries," Cantwell said.
As part of his prize, he will present his project to PE students at the University of Limerick and also to the Physical Education Association of Ireland annual conference in Cork later this year.
Two other group winners will also present their projects to the students in UL. Maria Wyzowska of Loreto Balbriggan looked at high intensity interval training - the fitness system that involves just three minutes of high intensity exercise a week. For her 25 non-active volunteers, the results were inconclusive. "But they all said that they felt better and fitter," she says.
Dylan Bagnall of King's Hospital finished top junior in the psychology/performance section with his examination of rates of perceived exertion in sportspeople.
Winning the nutrition section were Chloe Bowden Wilson, Chloe Breen and Aoife Farrell from Rockford Manor in Blackrock, Co Dublin. They examined the chemistry of energy drinks, finding that they were loaded with caffeine and sugar, causing insomnia, nervousness and heart palpitations. They made their own energy drink using more natural substances. Students from the school entered seven projects in all.
Senior winner in the health promotion category was 18-year-old Tomas Smith of Bailieborough Community School in Co Cavan. His project "Get Up Get Active" examined his own road to fitness after losing seven stone in weight over the past 18 months.
"I do two nights of running as well as boxercise and exercise every day at home. All I can say is that weight is no good for anyone," he says.
A record total of 140 projects were submitted for this year's PE Expo divided into senior and junior categories under seven headings. Supporting the PE Expo are the Physical Education Association of Ireland, Dublin City Sport and Wellbeing Partnership, Trinity College Dublin, Celtic Sports Academy, Tweakal.com and DCU. Among those offering category prizes were Inpho, Clubapp, Active Flag, and the Irish ladies Snooker Association. As part of the day's activities, a number of sports put on demonstrations, with Carlingford Adventure Centre's zorbing proving particularly popular. Next year's PE Expo takes place on Friday March 10.