The Annual Ulster GAA two-day Subway Player Academy took place on the 2nd and 3rd of July in the Sports Science facilities of Ulster University, Jordanstown.
Now in its 15th year, the Academy has in the past been targeted towards players in their last year at U16 level but, with the minor grade down to U17 level, the camp is now focused on U15 level players.
In total, 93 players attended (48 Football and 45 Hurling) which involves the most promising players from each of the nine counties in Ulster.
Throughout the duration of the camp, the players benefited from the knowledge and expertise of Ulster GAA staff as well as staff from SINI – all delivered at the top-class facilities that are provided by the University.
The players are afforded the opportunity to improve their own knowledge in different areas which will ultimately enable them to improve their own game, such as:
- Functional Movement Analysis
- Athlete Mental Health
- Activate Warm-Ups
- Player Lifestyle
- Recovery Sessions
In addition, the players are introduced to GPS Analysis where players are monitored on distances they travel as well as speed and areas of the field they cover while playing small and full sided games.
There are also field sessions, which focus on skill development and the areas covered include Kicking for Possession/Scores, Tackling/Blocking, Ball Retention/Support Play, Game Sense, Long Striking/Striking on the Run, High Catching and Gaining Possession.
Each year, we also invite a leading figure from the world of Gaelic Games to come and give a talk to the players. This year we had the honour of having Chrissy McKaigue from Slaughtneil & Derry and the players clearly enjoyed what he had to say on what it takes to get to the top.
The impact that the Academy has had on our young players is evidenced by the large number of its past players that have gone on to represent their inter-county at senior level. Players such as Michael Murphy, Ryan Wylie, Mark Bradley, Lee Brennan, Ryan McAnespie and Paddy McBrearty have gone on to play at the highest level.
This trend is also evident with our hurling attendees, where names such as Neil McManus, Aidan Kelly, Aaron Graffin and Nathan Curry have all came through to play at senior inter-county level.
See photos from this year’s Player Academy on the Ulster GAA Facebook page here.