Irish football scientist to travel to Euro 2020 with Scotland

With clients that include the Scottish national team, Cork native Shayne Murphy’s SDM Performance helps ensure maximum performance training for athletes and business leaders.

Cork-born founder of Meath-based business SDM Performance Shayne Murphy will be travelling to UEFA Euro 2020 next June with the Scottish team.

Murphy was there when Scotland come through a nail-biting penalty shoot-out against Serbia to qualify for their first major tournament since 1998. Shayne will now play a key role in their Euro 2020 Group D clashes against Croatia, Czech Republic and England in June next year.

“An ideal client is someone who is motivated and determined to improve”

The football scientist will be responsible for ensuring the Scottish players are physically prepared for the demands of training and games throughout the tournament.

The data science behind sport and business strategy

Shayne with Scottish captain Andy Roberston and manager Steve Clarke

SDM Performance was established by Rathcormac, Co Cork, native Shayne Murphy and the company is now based in Meath.

Murphy, who holds an MSc in Sport Science from the University of Central Lancashire and a BSc in Sports and Exercise from the University of Limerick, has more than 11 years’ experience managing the football-specific physical fitness requirements of elite players at Manchester City FC, Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers FC, Cardiff City FC and at an international level with the Wales National Team & Scotland National Team.

Working with SDM Performance, athletes, teams and businesspeople gain knowledge and tailored strategies to impact performance at the highest level.

Murphy, originally from Rathcormac in Cork, wanted wanted to bring the same level of expertise and insight he brought to working with footballers of the calibre of Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho to the Irish market through his company SDM Performance.

With bases in Ashbourne and Navan, Co Meath, and ongoing client relationships with the Scottish FA and City Football Group – the company that owns Manchester City and a host of other football clubs around the world – SDM Performance sidestepped the worst effects of the Covid-19 pandemic by focusing on its already growing online operations.

Leaving his role as a sports scientist and strength and conditioning coach with Manchester City FC in December 2019 was a huge step, but Murphy was keen to expand his skills and knowledge across other sports and industries.

When he returned to Ireland, Shayne was a participant on the Back For Business programme which is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and supports returned emigrants who are early-stage entrepreneurs. A call for applications for the new cycle of Back for Business will open later this month.

Now, business leaders, professional footballers and other athletes have signed up for a bespoke service from SDM Performance that enables them to push beyond what they previously thought were their limits.

“For athletes, assessment usually stems from a movement efficiency standpoint and branches out from there,” says Murphy. “Trying to identify what each athlete’s function is like at the foot, hip and spine and in all three planes of motion in addition to what that means for their sport is a lengthy process but an extremely rewarding one for the athlete. They often have a functioning system (body) that has many energy leaks and so they lose force or power because they haven’t trained themselves to be efficient.

“For businesses, it is about promoting a better culture and understanding how to improve performance. An ideal client is someone who is motivated and determined to improve. I have no doubt in my mind that I can help people beyond their current level, but it takes a committed person to invest in him or herself. For clients, it’s about having no regrets, it’s about having maximised their potential and knowing they gave it their best – win, lose or draw.”

Main image at top: Shayne Murphy with Riyad Mahrez

By John Kennedy (

Published: 1 December, 2020