In order to change behaviour, you have to start at the beginning.

We are more acutely aware than ever before of the importance of physical movement to our physical and mental wellbeing. That applies at every stage of life and the best way to ensure a lifetime devotion to the idea of sport and exercise is to educate our children.

On Thursday, September 9th Sport for Business hosted a conference on Children in Sport looking at a number of areas on how this can be improved.

We spoke to the researchers to see where we stand now in 2021 with regard to key metrics on children’s sporting engagement.

We spoke to sporting bodies on programmes they have created to bring children into their sport.

We spoke to teachers and to advocates for Children in sport.

Here are each of the sessions that took place through the morning.


Our first speaker of the session was children’s author Emma Larkin, creator of the Izzy series of books…



  • The Grandmother that won three All Ireland Camogie titles and linking generations
  • The canon of Children’s sporting literature
  • More sports coming soon.


Next up was Roisin McGettigan-Dumas, Olympian from Beijing 2008 and co-creator of the Dare to Believe programme bringing Olympic ideals into the classroom…



  • Giving back and extending the Olympic reach
  • The willingness of athletes and giving them a break before the ask
  • Getting kids to ‘walk’ to Tokyo and then back


Charles Harrison, National Co-ordinator of the GAA Cúl Camps



  • The genesis of the Cúl Camps in the success of the Republic of Ireland at Stuttgart 1988
  • The rise to 1,250 camps and 150,000 participants
  • The importance of fun in a safe environment


Will Clarke, Academy Director at the FAI on Player Pathways



  • The importance of identifying talent at the right age
  • Lessening the need to peak early
  • Club Academies Versus a Single National model


Paddy O’Reilly Teacher and Co-Founder of PExpo on Imagination and Inspiration


  • Creating a ‘Young Scientist’ for Sport
  • Making the most of PE on the schools’ curriculum
  • Finding out what the kids want


We will be uploading the final session with Stephen Behan of DCU on Wednesday morning.


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