Down GAA and SRC launch sports academy

Posted By:
Southern Regional College

7th Dec 2023

Students at Southern Regional College (SRC) have a unique opportunity to be part of a sports academy with Down GAA.  The College has been working alongside stakeholders in Down GAA, Ulster GAA and Newry City Athletic Football Club to develop an academy that will enhance student’s learning and increase opportunities to gain work experience.  The GAA sports academy is in addition to the College’s successful volleyball academy, run from the Armagh campus and the football academy which will run from the College’s Lurgan campus.

The academy is open to any student wanting to play, coach or analyse Gaelic or football.  Thirty-eight students are currently undertaking the academy, ranging from the usual Gaelic and football enthusiasts to basketball and rugby players.  The academy is the first of its kind and gives participants the opportunity to obtain a sports related qualification, anything from a gym instructing and personal training qualification right up to a Sports and Exercise (Honours Degree).  Down GAA will also be providing monthly coaching education sessions, bringing current trends in player development to the classroom.

The academy consists of three elements, with students having the option to partake in all three.  These are:

  • Player development – students undertake in twice weekly training sessions together with strength and conditioning sessions, plus league matches;
  • Coaching development – students will obtain a foundation coaching award with input from Down GAA coaches oversight. The aim being to commence primary school coaching sessions;
  • Sports analysis – students undertake video analysis of players movements using STATSports GPS pods and provide players with feedback to improve performances.

Rory McGreevy, Sports Development Officer at Southern Regional College commented:

The SRC Sports Academy provides students with a unique opportunity to gain relevant industrial knowledge and experience while studying for their qualification. Academy students will get the chance to develop as a player through pitch and strength & conditioning sessions, gain coaching qualifications and get extra coach education sessions delivered by the best coaches in the area. They also have the chance to learn how to use the top-class sports science equipment that the SRC has to help analyse player and team performances. The aim is for each student to use what they learn to help improve standards in their local clubs.

Conor O’Toole at Down GAA Games Development Manager further commented:

“It is fantastic for Down GAA to have entered into this Academy Programme in partnership with SRC in Newry.

In recent times we have been fortunate enough to have had some wonderful young students from the college, join our staff on academic work placement or as coaches within our Summer Camp programmes.

We see this relationship with SRC as a wonderful avenue for Down GAA to unearth a strong cohort of engaging, enthusiastic and highly skilled young people who can further promote Gaelic Games in local primary schools and GAA clubs in the greater Newry area and beyond.

Within this programme the pupils will have the opportunity to complete official GAA Coaching Awards, young referees training and also gain exposure to practical coaching opportunities in local schools.

Down GAA are excited at the prospect of working closely with the staff in SRC within this GAA Academy programme.”


For more information on the sports academy, contact the Sports Development Officer Rory McGreevy at mcgreevyr@src.ac.uk.