New academy to prepare players for national teams
Yesterday, displaying some outside the box thinking, the club was delighted to announce its revolutionary new U-12 Academy.

Following intensive talks within the club and taking into consideration the complexity of resources and facilities, we are happy to propose a unique player pathway for 65 of our members – starting with the this year’s U-12 age group.

The programme will be based at Stradbrook and will include 90-minute sessions over a three-night period (Monday to Wednesday) every week.

It’s being put together to prepare the players for our elite team that will participate in the national U-13 league.

One of the key points will be the mentoring system. Four first-team players will be rotated every week and will be utilised to assist the younger groups.

“They will train before and be with the first-team. That is fundamental to the project. The focus is on technique. But first team players will mentor the younger players. That is key.”  revealed Director of Football Pat Devlin (below left, speaking at Thursday’s launch).

Another fundamental aspect of the Academy will be the personnel running it.

After a stellar career in the League of Ireland, England and Scotland, Gary Dempsey (UEFA A Licence – below right), will spearhead the process as the Academy Head Coach. He will be ably assisted by Dillon Foley (UEFA B coach).

Under the guidance of Pat Devlin and Academy Manager Eddie Wallace, first team coaches Eddie Gormley and Graham O’Hanlon (both PRO Licence) will be focal points for the players through their expertise.

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Already in safe hands with goalkeeper coach John Power, a unique aspect will be Striking Coach Paul Heffernan who has come on board after a seventeen-year career and over 100 professional goals, in both England and Scotland.

“We want everybody to come on this new adventure with us, embrace and enjoy it. This will be invaluable for the players and they will really enjoy it. The whole programme will be done with the ball – that’s the aim.”  explained Devlin.

“The end game and the goal is to produce better players. To give players a better understanding of the game and what is required to make it at the highest level. This will only happen with more time on the training pitch and the best coaching available. Ultimately, we are trying to prepare the best group we can for the U-13 elite group.”

The training will focus on control; dribbling, passing, shooting and defending as well as possession games.

A series of seminars will also be central to the project. These will focus on the League of Ireland, playing in the UK, scholarships, nutrition as well as strength and conditioning.

“We’ll have monthly meetings with the players and managers to get feedback on each player. This will give us the information we need to then go on and help anyone who needs extra work, or more specific work, to improve their game and ultimately make them better players”  viewed Pat Devlin.

“While all the players will not make the final squad, we’ll endeavour to give every player the best possible chance of being in the group. This is the reason we are putting the programme in place.”

Footnote  – players will go back to train and play with their junior teams within the club on a weekly basis. We hope the programme will help the technique of all players across the board.

Some great foundations are being laid for the future!