The most recent Central Statistics Office (CSO) examination of sport and physical activity in Ireland was carried out as part of the Quarterly National Household Survey (QNHS) in 2013. The QNHS Sport and Physical Exercise provides some interesting insights into a variety of sporting and physical activity pursuits, some of which have been discussed on this blog. The survey focuses on persons aged 15 years and over who participate in sport and/or physical activity by age group and type of sport.
This is of interest to me as I am reaching the age where running around a pitch is becoming more and more difficult. Fields sports are very popular in Ireland and while the rules vary between hurling, Gaelic football, soccer and rugby, fundamentally all require participants to run around a large surface area. Fields sports are just as much about running as they are about possession of the ball, as players usually hold the ball for a very limited time in a match that could take between 70 and 90 minutes to play.
The data below demonstrates how fields sports are largely the choice of younger members of the population. Soccer, Gaelic football, hurling and camogie and rugby all report declining participation through the age categories.
Swimming, cycling and particularity golf seem to be the places the older generation migrate to. Golf is at it's strongest in the 65+ category. Swimming and cycling do see a decline but only after a notable rise in participation to at least the 45-54 age category. Dance and "other" physical activities are also popular for older generations.