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SETU Sports psychology lecturer, Kevin McManamon, a former Dublin Gaelic footballer, has been commended by Ireland’s quartet of officiating representatives ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in France.

The officiating representatives, including assistant referee Chris Busby, referee Andy Brace, and television match officials Brian MacNeice and Joy Neville, spoke highly to The Irish Times of McManamon’s contribution to their performance mindset and decision-making processes. 

McManamon is a high-performance coach and sport psychology consultant. He previously worked with the 2019 under-20 Grand Slam winning rugby team and extended his support to include Irish rugby’s elite referees. His role involves helping the officials enhance their performance mindset and to improve decision-making. 

According to Chris Busby, McManamon has been a valuable addition to the group, providing a “breath of fresh air” and helping with performance mindset. 

“From my point of view, he’s supported me around the big moments, making the decision and then being able to move on quickly to the next one, because I think for referees that can be very difficult. 

“You’ve a lot of external influence around you, you’ve a big screen, hear the crowd and sometimes it can be difficult to get back into the moment and start being ready, because the next big decision could be 30 seconds later,” Chris told The Irish Times.  

In 2022, Kevin joined the SETU team as lecturer in sport and exercise psychology, where he delivers department programmes including the MSc in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology, BSc (H) in Sports Coaching and Performance and the recently accredited part-time Certificate in Applied Sports Psychology. 

His impressive track record includes serving as the sport psychology lead for the Irish boxing team at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where they qualified seven boxers and earned two Olympic medals. Furthermore, Kevin has a strong passion for supporting individuals' well-being beyond their athletic performances. He has coached and trained numerous individuals through his own practice and through his work with Peptalk Wellbeing, Aware, the Soar Foundation, and his charity initiative called 'Warriors of the Light'.