Dr. Seán Crosson



Sport and exercise practices annually mobilize millions of people across the world: as practitioners in a wide variety of competitive, educational, recreational and, increasingly, health-related contexts; and as spectators, whether physically present or, more typically, following events via the mass media. In so doing, sporting practices and representations contribute significantly to the social construction of identities, through the elaboration of discourses and networks of power relations that, together, both shape and serve to legitimize highly distinctive processes of socialization. These mechanisms may be regarded negatively, for instance, by Marxist, Foucauldian and feminist critics respectively, as alienating, disciplinary and/or patriarchal. They may also be interpreted more positively, as permitting self-expression and even self-actualization of various kinds, in a tradition of linking the playing of games to the education of the young that stretches at least as far back as the Roman concept of mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body). However, perhaps most persuasively, sport may be understood as combining both positive and negative features, depending on the specific situations in which it is practised, watched, listened to, read about or otherwise consumed, and thus on the variety of individual and collective experiences to which it may give rise.

This research cluster emerges from ongoing research projects in the areas of sport and exercise in disciplines across NUI Galway and brings together a broad range of researchers within the College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies; the College of Business, Public Policy, & Law; the College of Engineering & Informatics; and the College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences. A key concern of this cluster is to explore and facilitate the development of interdisciplinary research in the areas of sport and exercise.


Current Research Projects: Gaelic Games, Irish Media, and the Impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown in Ireland


Relevant Programme: MA Sports Journalism and Communication

Members of the group contribute to the MA Sports Journalism and Communication. Further information on this programme can be found at the following link:

Sport & Exercise Research Group Seminar Series 2022-2023

6 September – 22 November, 12:00-2.00pm

The Sport & Exercise Research Group emerges from ongoing research projects in the areas of sport and exercise in disciplines across University of Galway (and beyond) and brings together a broad range of researchers within the College of Arts, Social Sciences, & Celtic Studies; the College of Business, Public Policy, & Law; the College of Engineering & Informatics; and the College of Medicine, Nursing, & Health Sciences. A key concern of this cluster is to share, explore and facilitate the development of interdisciplinary research in the areas of sport and exercise. This seminar series features contributors from the Research Group as well a range of national and international researchers engaged with the fields of sport and exercise studies.

Venue and Time

The Bridge Room 1001, First Floor Hardiman Research Building (unless otherwise indicated), Tuesdays 12-2pm. Please note some talks will be delivered virtually.


Week 1 (September 6): Sport and Performance: Configuring the Irish Nation through depictions of Gaelic games on film. (Dr. Seán Crosson, Huston School of Film & Digital Media)

This talk will consider sport and its relationship with performance, examining how the performance of sport and its depiction can affirm and contribute to constructions of national identity, looking in particular at the role of depictions of Gaelic games in film in the mid-20th century.

Dr. Seán Crosson is leader of the Sport & Exercise Research Group, Senior Lecture in film in the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, and author of Sport and Film (Routledge 2013) and Gaelic Games on Film (Cork UP 2019)

Week 2 (September 13): Lance Armstrong and suiveur reporting in Libération, 1999–2013: A Case Study in Sports Journalism (Ruadhán Cooke, Discipline of French, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

This lecture examines the journalism of Jean-Louis Le Touzet in Libération as an example of suiveur reporting in the tradition of Antoine Blondin, and shows how the freedom of literary journalism allows Le Touzet to accurately reflect academic perspectives on Lance Armstrong, politics, culture and sport.

Ruadhán Cooke teaches French in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Research interests include the overlaps between sport and literature, sports journalism and the cultural impact of sport.

Week 3 (September 20): Sport, Celebrity, Media and National Identity (Dr Marcus Free, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick)

With reference to selected Irish national and international sports celebrities, and drawing on a variety of theoretical perspectives, concepts and methods, this lecture explores the interplay between media representation and sporting celebrities’ self-presentation via social media in the construction, negotiation and contestation of national identity. It will focus particularly on how national identity intersects with gender and race.

Marcus Free is a lecturer in Media and Communication Studies in Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick. He has published widely in international journals and scholarly collections and is co-author of The Uses of Sport: A Critical Study (2005) and co-editor of Sport, the Media and Ireland: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2020).

Week 4 (September 27): Sport and Film: An American Dream? (Dr. Seán Crosson, Huston School of Film & Digital Media)

This lecture will examine the relationship between sport and film internationally. It will chart the history of sport cinema and examine the important role the genre has played in the United States in popularising and affirming a key ideology in American life: the American Dream.

Week 5 (October 4): Sport and Identity: from local pastimes to global games (Professor Philip Dine, School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures)

This seminar seeks to explore sport’s social significance by offering a case study of France, focusing on the contribution of organized games to the historical construction and continuing reconfiguration of a variety of local, national and, increasingly, transnational identities.

Professor Philip Dine has published widely on representations of the French empire, particularly decolonization, in fields ranging from children’s literature to professional sport. Further projects have targeted sport and identity-construction in France and the Francophone world.

Week 6 (October 11): When Fanaticism turns Toxic: Sentiment Analysis of Social Media Commentary on Amateur Sport in Ireland (Dr. Michael

Lang, Associate Professor in Business Information Systems, School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway)

This paper uses a sample of GAA-related tweets and posts drawn from the period 2012 to 2022. Using data analytics techniques, the nature and incidence of negative comments are analysed. The paper concludes by briefly discussing actions that can be taken to address this growing scourge, including internal disciplinary actions by sporting organisations, responsible journalistic practices, and recourse to existing and emerging national and international legislation.

Michael Lang is an Associate Professor in Business Information Systems within the School of Business & Economics at NUI Galway. His principal research interests are Information Systems Education, Data Analytics and Cybersecurity. He is currently the Information Technology Officer of Mayo GAA.

Week 7 (October 18): Exercise Physiology in evaluation of fitness and exercise prescription. (Dr. Ananya Gupta, Department of Physiology, School of Medicine)

In this seminar Dr. Gupta will talk about the benefits of physical activity (PA), the evidence supporting PA and the recommended guidelines for PA in a healthy adult. In addition she will also discuss the importance of exercise physiology and how it can be applied in exercise testing in the evaluation of health, fitness and performance. We will also briefly discuss the basic principles underlying exercise prescription in healthy clients as well as in a clinical setting.

Dr. Ananya Gupta is a lecturer in the Discipline of Physiology. She is the Director of the MSc program in Exercise Physiology and Application in Therapy. She is also the founder and director of the Exercise Physiology Core Facility (EPCF) located in the Human Biology Building which is an integral part of the Discipline of Physiology, School of Medicine, NUI Galway.

Week 8 (October 25): Football and Cinema under Francoism: Comparing Visual Motifs to Unveil Historical Symptoms (Dr Manuel Garin – Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona)

This talk delves into that critical juncture between football and moving images, which shaped and still shapes the core of Spanish identity/ies (with political, class, and gender trouble), by studying such intermedial links in three complementary ways: as an atlas of politicized bodies (sportsmen but also women and minorities), an archive of visual motifs (gestures, situations, narratives) and a network of places and influences (production companies, football clubs, cities, Francoist institutions, repressed regions or nationalities, etc.). Framed within a new research project funded by the Spanish MICINN, the talk will share its main findings and methodology with our colleagues from NUI Galway, to foster debate within the Research in Sport seminar.

Dr. Manuel Garin works at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, where he teaches as senior lecturer in film and media studiesHe has been visiting scholar at the Tokyo University of The Arts and the University of Southern California, where he developed the comparative media project Gameplaygag. Between Silent Film and New Media.

[Virtual Lecture via Blackboard Collaborate]

Week 9:  No Seminar

Week 10 (November 8):  Analytic approaches in Sports and Exercise Science (Professor John Newell, Bioinformatics & Biostatistics Research Cluster)

 Professor John Newell is Head of Statistics in the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUI Galway.  His primary areas of research in Biostatistics are in the theory and application of statistical methods in clinical trials of health service and population health interventions and in the development of novel analytic approaches in Sports and Exercise Science.

Through his role as funded Principal Investigator in the Insight Centre for Data Analytics, his team of researchers help sports scientists in elite sporting organisations make sense of their data in order to improve training response, accelerate recovery and optimise performance.   In this talk he will give a short history of the use of Statistics in elite sport, the role Biostatistics plays in athlete welfare and the use and misuse of big data in elite sports.

 Week 11 (November 15): Psychology and Performance in Sport (Professor Jane Walsh, School of  Psychology)

In this seminar Professor Jane Walsh will look at the evidence from Sports Psychology to provide insight into the key characteristics and mental strategies used by top performers in sport. Jane will draw on recent sporting examples to illustrate how characteristics such as mental toughness and emotional stability are key factors in success and provide examples of how strategies such as goal setting and control of effort have to been used by athletes to break world records. Prof. Walsh will provide an answer the question on everyone’s mind….’Can we learn these strategies for peak performance?’ You will have to turn up to find out these answers and more about the key to success in sport (and life!).

Prof. Jane Walsh is a lecturer in Health Psychology in NUI Galway. Her research is underpinned by the theme ‘Health Behaviour for Healthy Ageing’.  She is the Director of the mHealth Research Group and has secured grants in excess of €8 million euro in EU funding to conduct research on how novel technologies can be harnessed to deliver personalised evidence-based interventions to promote healthy ageing.

Week 12 (November 22): The ‘disneyization’ of football: entertainment multinationals and global dynamics of the most popular sport in the world (Dr. Xavier Ginesta, Universitat de Vic – Universitat Central de Catalunya (UVic-UCC))

Many studies have focused on the management of corporate media in football, and even on the potential of social networks. But, research in Communication and Sport has to go one step further: we should analyze the transformation of clubs into “content factories”, into audiovisual production studios, with multiple formats, clients and strategic objectives. In Italy, Inter Milan has been a pioneer and, in Spain, Barça Studios represents a substantial change in the way the club relates to its audiences and has link the club into the new digital revolution, exemplified by the emergence of NFT. Based on a typological sample of interviewees – using a semi-structured questionnaire – linked to elite football in the Big Five leagues (Germany, Spain, England, France and Italy), football clubs are conceptualised in this lecture as new entertainment multinationals. They are important actors for the development of the audiovisual industry in the Western countries and they become maximum representatives of a trend that speaks to us of the disneyzation of elite sport (O’Brien, Holden & Ginesta, 2020).

Xavier Ginesta is Senior Lecturer at the University of Vic-Central University of Catalonia. He also collaborates with the Olympic Studies Centre at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Spain. His main research interests are Sport Management, Communication and Politics and Sport Place Branding.

[Virtual Lecture via Blackboard Collaborate]


  • “Women in Sports and levelling the playing fields”: Seán Crosson examines this topic with Clíona Foley, sports journalist and regular on Newstalk’s Off The Bench and Louise Toal, digital sports editor for Galway Pulse:


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