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UCC’s Mardyke Arena Committed to investing in Emerging Athletes

At the Mardyke Arena, Cork, details were announced of the second year of the Emerging Talent programme in partnership with the Evening Echo, RedFM and Included are from left, Damien Sreenan, Director, Patsy Ryan, general manager, Mardyke Arena UCC, Lizzie Lee, Olympian, Jeff Gomez, sport and athlete performance manager and Wayne Falvey, marketing manager Mardyke Arena UCC. In Front, Sharon and Peter Kenna ETP Athletes. Picture Dan Linehan

On the back of a successful inaugural year of the Emerging Talent Programme, the Mardyke Arena UCC has launched the second year with Olympian & Brand Ambassador, Lizzie Lee. The Arena developed the high performance programme to help aid emerging athletes across all sports codes from 15 – 18 Years Old to reach their full potential.

The Emerging Talent Programme gives athletes the structured supports to maximise their physical performance to compete at the highest level and to achieve their goals. Having invested over €30,000 into the programme in its first year the Mardyke Arena UCC are committed to invest a further €40,000 into the next intake of athletes and continue to improve on the quality of the programme.

In its first year, the programme attracted athletes from a cross section of sports which included athletics, swimming, sailing, karate, climbing, basketball, squash & golf. The majority of the athletes represented their country at various levels and the programme has received recognition from the National Governing Bodies.

Speaking at the launch, Patsy Ryan, General Manager at the Mardyke Arena UCC said, “We are delighted with how the first year of the Emerging Talent Programme has gone and we are looking forward to building on the quality of the programme going forward. We have just agreed a two-year partnership with and they’ll look after the nutritional requirements for the athletes. It’s fantastic to see athletes from a wide section of sports within the programme. The Mardyke Arena UCC is committed to nurturing cork’s local talent and this programme puts the selected athletes at the forefront, giving them the structured supports to help achieve their goals & ambitions.”

The programme is headed up by Jeff Gomez, Sport and Athlete Performance Manager at the Mardyke Arena UCC. Jeff Gomez has been involved in athletic development with various sporting disciplines and has worked with athletes competing at Olympic, international and national level.

There is a big focus on educating the athletes within the programme and improving their skill set across all performance components. The Mardyke Arena UCC have expertise across all areas with Billy Murphy – Performance Nutritionist, Michael Kearney – Sports Psychologist and were able to call on athletes such as Peter Stringer, Rob Heffernan, Johnny Dunleavey & Lizzie Lee to deliver workshops on lifestyle management throughout the year.

“The Emerging Talent Programme offers those eligible for the programme a specialised vehicle to fulfil their sporting potential through access to sports science, strength & conditioning, performance psychology, clinic services, performance analysis, nutrition & lifestyle support. We are extremely fortunate to have expertise across all areas. The current athletes have been a pleasure to work with and all have progressed greatly throughout the year. There’ll be a number of athletes that will remain on the programme for a second year, as well as new athletes that will come on board. I’m looking forward to progressing the programme now and acting as a support function to the coach, athlete and parent.”, said Jeff.

Closing date for applications is Thursday 7th September with the next intake of emerging athletes commencing the programme at the end of September. For further information on the programme and to apply visit or contact Nora Aherne, High Performance Manager, on 021 490 47 93 or

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