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Sport Management Staff

Sport Management Staff

Core Staff

Professor Eleni Theodoraki         

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Associate Professor James Matthews        

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Dr. Seamus Kelly

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Dr. Ross Neville

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Dr. Joel Rookwood

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Mr. Ruben Collins

Ruben is the Programme Administrator for the BSc Sport & Exercise Management undergraduate programme and the MSc Sport Management programme. Ruben works with students and academics on all aspects of the programmes from admissions to graduation.

Ms. Natalia Zadorozhnyaya

Natalia graduated with an Honours Specialist Degree as a German and English language teacher (specialising in Philology) from the Tomsk State Pedagogical University, Russia. She also holds an M.Ed. degree from University College Dublin. Natalia has worked in different functions within the University sector both in Ireland and abroad, and is currently a Programme Manager in the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science where she works with students, academics and work placement partners.

Associated Staff

Dr. Helen Raftery

Helen is CEO of Junior Achievement Ireland (JAI), working with 30 full time staff and 3,000 business volunteers each year to inspire and motivate young people to realise their potential by valuing education and gaining an understanding of how to succeed in the world of work. JAI works with business leaders across 160+ supporting organisations and teachers, school leaders and other educationalists to ensure JA educational activities are enjoyed by more than 65,000 students in primary and second levels across Ireland annually.

Before assuming her current role, Helen enjoyed opportunities to teach at primary and second level and to work across the public, private and voluntary sectors, including roles in two National Governing Bodies of Sport, and at the Irish Sports Council, the precursor to Sport Ireland, in the eight years spanning its emergence from a voluntary committee to statutory agency. In these roles, Helen witnessed at first hand governmental-level developments from the appointment of the first Minister of Sport (1997), to the signing into law of the Irish Sports Council Act (1999) and the first meeting of the ISC to the initiation of the ISC-led initiatives like the Local Sports Partnerships (2002) and the Irish Institute of Sport (2005). Helen was awarded her doctorate by Queens University, Belfast, and her doctoral studies focused on the work of volunteer directors/ board members in non-profits, with a particular emphasis on the governance of sport and the role of voluntary leaders in sports organisations.

Helen has worked with UCD students on the MSc programme since 2010 and is delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to the development of those who will lead Irish sport into the future.  

Sinéad Galvin

Sinéad is the owner of Galvin Sports Management, an agency focused on brand management, communications and sponsorship within the sport sector. Sinéad gained seven years’ significant marketing and brand experience in the FMCG sector before becoming the first Marketing & Sponsorship Manager with Athletics Ireland. During her time in this role, she led the marketing of the 2009 European Cross-Country Championships, and oversaw the development of the first digital strategy for the association.  Sinéad moved to the PR agency Wilson Hartnell as an Account Director where she worked with leading brands to develop a number of award winning sport sponsorship campaigns.  In 2016, she set up GSM and has since worked with numerous Irish sport organisations. She also represents a number of Ireland’s leading Olympians and Paralympians helping them to build their personal brand and secure commercial opportunities.

Ken Robinson

Ken is CEO of DCU Sport. He holds an MBA from Dublin City University, an MSc in Sport Science from St Mary’s University, a BA (Hons) in Business Management from the Irish Management Institute, a Diploma in Business Studies and a National Certificate in Fitness, Level 1 & 2.  He was General Manager of ESB SportsCo and in 2004 was appointed CEO of DCU Sport in Dublin City University.

Under his tenure, DCU Sport has been awarded national sports centre of the year at the EIQA awards three times. Ken is also a past President of ILAM Ireland (now Ireland Active), the Institute of Leisure Managers and was recognised with Life membership of ILAM in 2012 for service to the industry. He played and now coaches Gaelic Football and has worked with several senior and development teams.

A qualified ISO auditor with experience in gaining the Q-Mark in SportsCo and DCU and as part of the leisure industry working group seconded to develop the Operation Standards standard for sports and leisure facilities in 1998. From 2003 until 2011 he was Chairman of the FAI Clubs Licensing Committee as part of the UEFA Quality standard for football clubs throughout Europe. Ken is currently completing a doctorate degree in elite sport performance.

Dr. Earl McCarthy

Earl holds a PhD in High Performance Sports coaching as well as a postgraduate in law and an undergraduate in Sports Management. Earl's experience both as a former Olympic athlete and coach, combined with a PhD in performance coaching has seen him establish and manage successful teams.

UCD Swim Program results include producing Olympic qualifiers, as well as European and World Championship medalists. Earl has been lecturing on the UCD sports degree programmes since 2009 and has extensive experience in academic research, coaching and lecturing.

Dr. Adam Grainger

Dr Adam Grainger is a PhD graduate and accredited S&C coach, with extensive experience in elite applied sports science. Originally from Holywood, Co. Down, Adam left Ireland in 1999 to complete a year teaching in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, before completing his BSc (Hons) and Masters in Sports Science at Brunel University London. After graduation Adam worked in English Premiership Rugby for twelve years (Saracens, London Wasps and Sale Sharks) across a variety of sports science disciplines. Having helped London Wasps win the English Premiership in 2008, Adam moved to Sale Sharks, progressing to Head of Performance.

Upon returning to Ireland in November 2016, Adam began working at University College Dublin as the Head S&C Coach within their Ad Astra scholarship programme. In this role, he coached elite athlete scholars, many of whom are current Olympians and elite team sport athletes. Alongside applied sports science roles, Adam has led Performance Analysis in Sport, Strength and Conditioning and Coaching Science modules for both undergraduate and postgraduate students at Kingston University and University College Dublin.

In December 2017, Adam was appointed Performance Director for Hockey Ireland. This role involved the implementation of a high performance plan that ensures the continued development of the Ireland senior teams (men's and women's) and prepares junior players to impact at senior level (Olympics and World Cups). Liaising with Irish sport governing bodies regards both funding and player provision, while leading on all high performance matters, Adam aims to maximise the undoubted potential of hockey in Ireland.

In February 2022, Adam joined Kitman Labs as Senior Performance Strategist to work specifically with their National Governing Body and League sporting clients.

Alongside his current employment, Adam is a regular contributor at sport science conferences and in October 2016 was appointed Chair of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science Sport and Performance Division

Dr. Yanbing Chen

Yanbing is a postdoctoral researcher based in UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, involving in a health-related research project funded by EU-OSHA. After obtaining her MSc degree in our Sport Management programme in 2015, she commenced her PhD study also in the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science, with a focus on attitudes to health and wellbeing in elite Irish Rugby Union, including injury risk awareness, risk-taking behaviour, safety culture in contact sports, and rugby safe return during COVID-19.

Following the emergence of COVID-19, Yanbing was been involved in a SFI funded COVID-19 prevention project in the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science as a postdoctoral researcher. She has also contributed to a programme funded by EU Horizon 2020 examining the impacts of artificial pancreas systems use among people with diabetes, and a project on sedentary adults funded by Sports Ireland collaborating with Dublin City Council. As a practitioner in sports interdisciplinary research, Yanbing is dedicated to the collaboration between sports and other disciplines both within the school, and across the university.

Dr. Míde Ní Shúilleabháin

Míde is a sustainability consultant, specialising in sports sustainability, community engagement and sustainable sports facilities management. She is sustainability adviser to the GAA‘s Green Club Programme, the country’s first grassroots sports sustainability initiative, which is designed to support sustainability awareness and engagement in GAA clubs and grounds across the island. She is also a steering committee member of the Erasmus+-funded Achieving Circularity in Cities through Sustainability in Sports (ACCESS) project, in partnership with the Football Association of Wales, the Danish FA and FC Porto and coordinated by the Association of Cities and Regions for Sustainable Resource Management (ACR+) and the Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa. 

Míde previously worked as Sustainability & Systems Officer in Croke Park stadium, where she was Chair of the stadium’s Environmental, Sustainability and Safety Management Group and, as safety officer and member of the stadium’s award-winning facilities team, part of the operations team responsible for planning and managing sports events in the stadium. Míde also served on the GAA’s National Health & Safety Committee (NHSC), a body advising the GAA on the safe management of sports clubs, grounds and events across the country. With committee colleagues, she developed and delivered training courses for and to volunteer stewards and club and county safety officers. 

Prior to joining the Croke Park Operations Team, Míde was a lecturer in International Relations in Dublin City University’s School of Law & Government, specialising in European Politics. She has previously worked as a political advisor in the European Parliament in Brussels, in the areas of International Development, Foreign Affairs and Transport & Tourism. 

Sinead O'Brien

Sinead O'Brien is VP Finance in Skyworks Leasing. She is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and a Chartered Tax Consultant. Sinead works closely with Chartered Accountants Ireland, where she moderates, lectures and facilitates on the Chartered Tax Consultant and Diploma courses. She lectures on the under-graduate programme at UCD in Financial Management and the MAcc postgraduate programme in business tax. She has over 15 years of experience in finance and tax, specifically in the aviation sector.

Before SkyWorks, Sinead worked at the Norwegian Air Group, where she was responsible for the finance function of the group’s Irish arm and was appointed to the board of Norwegian’s asset management group, Arctic Aviation Assets, where she gained experience in asset management and aircraft transactions. She built a fully functioning team in Dublin and was responsible for the management of over 150 aircraft, leased both internally and externally.

Before Norwegian, Sinead was employed by Aer Lingus, working in internal audit where she was responsible for developing and implementing the (non-safety) risk register for the group. While at Aer Lingus, she gained experience in the Revenue Accounting and Finance departments. She then worked as direct tax manager for the group and completed the CTC qualification. Sinead has a Master’s Degree in Accounting from Dublin City University. She commenced her career at PwC, training as an auditor.

Cian Nelson

Cian is the League of Ireland Club Development Manager with the Football Association of Ireland. Cian has over 16 years’ experience working in the sports industry across the areas of Communications, Marketing, Events and Sports Development.

Cian is a graduate of the BSc Sport & Exercise Management course as well as holding an MSc in Project Management from the UCD Smurfit Business School.

He began working in the FAI as project lead for their Ticketing Department as well as a period working in their International Department. Cian has been involved in key events such as the UEFA Europa League Final in Dublin in 2011, and the UEFA EURO 2012 Finals in Poland and Ukraine.

He has also worked with the Camogie Association initially as their Operations Co-ordinator and then as their Communications Manager, overseeing key events such as All-Ireland Finals, All-Stars Tours and various other national events.

Cian returned to the FAI in 2021 to take up a new role as Club Development Manager for the League of Ireland where he assists clubs to develop their strategic plans to reach their full potential.

Felicity McCarthy

Felicity McCarthy (MSc, BComm) is a digital marketing expert with over 20 years of deep industry expertise. Felicity is the founder of Spark Digital which is a digital marketing company providing consultancy and educational services to clients from start-up to multinational to government organisations.

Before founding Spark Digital, Felicity worked on the cutting edge of the technology sector, leading international digital marketing teams in companies such as Facebook, eBay & Dell. Felicity has a BComm & MSc Marketing Practice, and is a passionate advocate for the power of education throughout ones career and indeed at all stages of the business lifecycle. Felicity also actively contributes to the digital industry in a range of ways,
involving speaking and facilitating at industry events over many years including Web Summit, Dublin Tech Summit, 3XEDigital, Image Magazine Digital Masterclasses, Marketing Week London, Social Media Week London, Business Startup Show London & beyond.

Spark Digital clients include Pieta, Daft.ie, Facebook & Instagram EMEA, Pinterest UK, Allianz, Western Digital EMEA, 123.ie, Inglot Ireland, Topflight, Mercantile Group, Aviva, IDA Ireland, Azon Recruitment Group, Grant Thornton Ireland, Nova UCD, Irish Management Institute, Irish Times Training & more.

Ruth Mullally

Ruth is Managing Director of her own HR Psychology Consultancy business where she has worked across the globe for international organisations spending time in the USA, UK, Poland, Denmark, Belgium, Spain and Peru. She works as an Organisational Psychologist specialising in strategic HR projects, organisation design, assessment, development, coaching, training, talent management, strategic workforce planning and change management.

Ruth co-founded the Coaching Psychology Group in 2008 which promotes learning and research in the field. She has also held executive committee roles on the Division of Work and Organisational Psychology. Ruth holds a Masters in Social & Organisational Psychology (UCD), is an associate fellow of the Psychological Society of Ireland and a member of the CIPD. She has also presented at a number of national and international conferences with international publications.

Ruth is passionate about learning and has been working in UCD in the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science as a guest lecturer since 2014. She lectures on the MSc in Occupational Safety and Health, the Masters in Public Health and the MSc in Sports Management. She has also lectured in Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dublin Business School and Royal College of Physicians. Outside of work Ruth is a keen supporter of all sports and plays competitive tennis.

Jerome White

Jerome spent the 16 years with the Coca-Cola Company, progressing through a series of senior sales and marketing roles both domestically and internationally. He concluded his service with Coca-Cola as Commercial Director for Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. Jerome subsequently joined the John West seafood business and served as their Commercial Director for the island of Ireland for 4 years.

In recent years Jerome has served in senior public affairs and communication roles, initially as National Director of the Irish Brewers Association, the trade association representing the interests of the Irish Brewing industry and subsequently as Director of Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland. This second body was established under the auspices of the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Health working in partnership with all the leading retail groups operating in the Republic of Ireland.

Jerome holds a BA in History & Economics from UCC and a Post Graduate Diploma
in General Management from IMD in Lausanne. He recently completed an MSc in
Sport Management from UCD where his dissertation focused on volunteer
committee governance effectiveness. Finally, Jerome has served as both Treasurer
and Secretary of the Irish Universities Rugby Union and has also served on the 3rd
Level Committee of the Irish Rugby Football Union.

Giampiero Tarantino (PhD Candidate)

Giampiero is a PhD candidate in Inclusive Physical Activity and Education in UCD’s School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science. Giampiero obtained a B.Sc. in Sports Science and Performance in 2014 followed by am M.Sc. (Hons) in Sports Science and Education in 2016 at the University of Pisa, Italy. After working as a PE teacher in Italian middle and secondary schools for three years, Giampiero received a scholarship for his PhD by the Irish Research Council under the Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholarship
scheme, which he started in September 2018 at UCD and is due to complete in September 2022. His PhD research focuses on the inclusion of children with disabilities in physical activity and education.

Alongside his activity as a researcher, Giampiero is also an Occasional Lecturer within the School. He is the lecturer on the ‘Research Methods for Sport’ module on the BSc in Sport & Exercise Management, and a recurrent lecturer on modules in the subject areas of Public Health, like ‘Knowledge Synthesis, Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis’ and ‘Dietetics Professional Practice 2’. He also holds a position as an Adjunct Lecturer at the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, Trinity College Dublin, where he teaches ‘Health
Body Systems’ on a highly novel programme.

Giampiero is involved in the EDI committee, the CHAS Disability Working Group, and he is also the current chair of the Postgraduate Research Student Committee within the School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science.

Giampiero is also a former rugby coach and strength and conditioning coach. He obtained his qualifications from the Italian Rugby Federation, and between 2010 – 2018, he was appointed as head coach and S&C coach in junior and senior rugby teams in Italy.

Other Contributors

We also have a number of expert guest contributors from across the sports industry, both nationally and internationally. This includes Chief Executive Officers, Performance Directors, Sports Marketeers and experts in Sports Law and Event Management. The involvement of these key influential stakeholders exposes our students to the sports field beyond UCD and Ireland, establishing a close link between theory and practice on all of our coursework. This ultimately ensures that our Sport Management students are prepared with the skills to enter and work in the Sports sector post-graduation.

Contact UCD Sport and Performance

Woodview House, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 3478 | E: sport.management@ucd.ie