Youth Academy

Youth Academy 

The Athletics NI Youth Academy assists selected athletes and their coaches by providing targeted support and mentoring as they progress along the pathway to success. Youth Academy provides a ‘Hot House’, accelerating athletes to a higher technical standard and with higher levels of physical conditioning. It provides a stepping stone towards international representation and sustained senior success.

Athlete profiles and performance standards will monitor progress of athletes and of the programme. The programme is underpinned by a curriculum that follows the periodised year and aims to develop athletes in every aspect of their development.

Athletes selected into the Youth Academy will have achieved performance standards, show potential at event group stage and have competed well in the event group, at national standard within the last year. Performance is measured on competition results and Power of 10 rankings. Potential is measured against physical, technical and psycho-behavioural development.

Selections for these squads will be reviewed on a six-monthly basis, usually around 31st March and 30th September each year.

The goals for the Youth Academy programme are to:

  • Ensure that athletes develop the required physical competences, fundamental movement skills and performance behaviours to allow them to engage in senior performance training in any training environment in the world.
  • Improve coaches’ understanding of physical preparation.
  • Increase the retention of Northern Ireland’s best age group athletes into the senior ranks.
  • Increased representation on UK and Athletics Ireland U18, U20 and U23 teams.
  • Develop young athletes with the aim of selection for future Commonwealth Games teams.
  • Support Youth Academy Coaches to progress on the coaching pathway by pursuing a full Athletics Coach Qualification (within 12 months of joining the programme) or advance their qualification and expertise further by completing an Event Group Qualification.

Programme Features & Benefits:


  • Movement assessment and report
  • Weekly dynamic warm-up and running mechanics sessions at University of Ulster Jordanstown High Performance Centre (UUJHPC)
  • Weekly physical preparation sessions at University of Ulster Jordanstown High Performance Centre (UUJHPC)
  • Indoor track access at UUJHPC (6 hours per week)
  • Lifestyle, Nutrition and Anti-Doping workshops
  • Advice on preparation for University scholarship programmes


  • Financial support to complete British Athletics Event Group Qualifications
  • Athlete movement assessment and detailed report highlighting potential areas for improvement
  • Mentoring and support to address highlighted movement issues
  • Free access to the Youth Academy Coaches Network and associated events. These cover a number of topics including Olympic Weightlifting, Lifestyle, Nutrition and Anti-doping.
  • Support with annual planning (if required)

Youth Academy Successes 2017: youthacademypic.jpg

  • James Hamilton 2x 6th place finishes at World Para Championships in London
  • Youth Commonwealth Games Titles for Aaron Sexton and Sommer Lecky
  • Jack Agnew and Eve Walsh-Dann winning 5 medals at World Para Junior Championships
  • Top 8 finish at European Juniors for Kate O’connor
  • Two Youth Academy Athletes nominated for Gold Coast (Lecky & O’Connor)
  • Erasmus Portugal WWT Camp - 24 Youth Academy Athletes and 7 Coaches


2017 - 2018 Youth Academy

Athlete-Coach Pair

Athlete-Coach Pair

Athlete-Coach Pair

Holly Mulholland


Sue Mulholland

Ethan Williamson (100mH)

Bryan McCorkell

Iona MacPherson (TJ)

Michelle Rea

Lauren Roy (100m & 200m)

Adam McMullen

Murphy Miller (800m)

Francis Marsh

Josh Armstrong (110mH)

Michelle Rea

Erin Fisher


Jim Alexander / Annie Rose

Jonathan Cochrane (TJ)


Anna McCauley (100mH)

Maureen McCauley

Adam Hughes (400m)

Andrew Han

Katie Ritchie (PV)

Graham Moffett

Caitlin Maguire (100m)

Bill Kelly

Thomas Hunter (TJ)

Adam McMullen

Craig McMeechan (3000m)

Francis Marsh

Cormac O’Rourke


Jim McKeown /

Neil Carty

Eimar Kelly (80mH)

Jim O’Neil

Jordan Cunningham (80mH, LJ)

Phil McIlfatrick

Jack Magee (JT)

Laura Kerr

Peter Wright (100m)

Paul Strange

Lydia Mills (LJ)

Alan Kennedy

Garbhan McKenna (110mH)

Tom Reynolds

Shane Martin


Jim Alexander

Ellie McCartney (PV)

Jim Alexander

Michael McCauley

(100m & 200m)

Adam McMullen

Alex Boyd (1500m)

Jim McKeown

Rachel McCann (300m)

Michael Roberts

Mark Burton


Alan Kennedy

Alice Rodgers (100m & 200m)

Paul Strange

Naomi Morgan (Hept)

Tom Reynolds

Jai Benson (TJ)

Bryan McCorkell / Adam McMullen

Harriet Dougan (PV)

Jim Alexander

Christian Robinson (100m)

Alan Kennedy


If you are interested in the Youth Academy Programme but aren’t currently at the selection level then see Open Academy which mirrors the Youth Academy Programme on a quarterly basis.