ASEE Orchard Academy

The ASEE Orchard Academy manages all of the coaching and development activity that supports player development within Armagh, including:


  •  Primary School coaching
  • Club coach education opportunities
  • ASEE Orchard Academy player development workshops
  • ASEE Orchard Academy post primary school competitions
  • ASEE Orchard Academy development squads


The aim of the Orchard Academy is to broaden participation levels while teaching the skills of the game in formative years and establishing holistic best practice around players in the “Learn to Compete” phase of their development.


Armagh GAA are offering every primary school in the county the opportunity to engage with and benefit from a comprehensive new programme of Gaelic Games coaching, starting in September 2019.

This programme includes:

  • Structured Key Stage 2 (P5-P7) program
  • Full School year – timetabled & consistent delivery
  • GAA focused – game & movement skills
  • Widening participation rates for all clubs
  • Enhancing club / school links – club input
  • Joint Club & County investment
  • Extends the overall Player Pathway

To test the viability of this initiative Armagh GAA successfully ran a pilot programme across ten primary schools with positive feedback from schools, clubs and coaches.

For more information please contact the Armagh Games Development Manager, Denis Hollywood on

Primary School Pilot Programme

Armagh GAA have announced a new title sponsorship for the Orchard Academy with locally based but globally focused mechanical and electrical contractor Aidan Strain Electrical Engineering (ASEE).

The long term agreement with ASEE will enable Armagh to invest significantly in the player pathway within the county over the coming years to reinvigorate the structures in the county that help produce players for all clubs.

The Orchard Academy programs will work closely with all units of the GAA within the county to enhance the quality of primary school coaching, club and county coach education and post-primary school competitiveness in Ulster Schools competitions as well as expanding the player development opportunities at all levels.

Speaking at the announcement of this sponsorship at the Athletic Grounds ahead of Armagh’s round seven Allianz National Football League clash with Cork, County Chairperson Mickey Savage outlined the importance of investing resources into the future of the game within the county and commended work being done within Coaching and Games.

Aidan Strain Electrical & Mechanical Engineering has been in business throughout the UK and Europe for over forty years. Business activities range from local domestic and industrial installations to present international status offering reliable, innovative solutions to specialist requirements in the electrical and mechanical field.

“As our business continues to grow we look to associate our brand locally and internationally with excellence.

“We have been delighted to hear the exciting plans for the expansion of the Orchard Academy programs as their aspirations for improvement and values match our own.

“We look forward to helping drive football in the county forward.”

Orchard Academy sponsor Aidan Strain Electrical Engineering (ASEE) presents new jerseys to the development squads. Pictured left to right: Mickey Savage (Armagh GAA Chairperson), Paul McGrane, Aidan Strain (ASEE Managing Director), Paudi Shea McKeever (Cullyhanna), Oisin O’Neill (Crossmaglen), Fergus Clinton (ASEE Director) and Thomas Hugh Edwards (Eire Og).

Q&A with Oisin O’Neill

Playing for your club, school, college and county are very different environments. How important have those opportunities been for you as you grew up and continued to improve?

I feel that the more exposure young players get to different environments ultimately the better it will be for their development. I am lucky that I have worked under many different coaches and I have learnt a lot from each of them. Playing in different systems allows me have a greater flexibility in my game and be more adaptable to challenges and scenarios that opposition throw at you.

You have played for Armagh at every level – what difference has that made to your evolution as a footballer?

In terms of my evolution Armagh has probably been the biggest influence. I started at 14 in the development squad system. The progression every year right up to the senior squad allowed me to become a more rounded player and develop my game to a different level. The coaches in Armagh have constantly challenged me to develop as a footballer and have really tried to work on my weaknesses and opened my eyes to the hard work it takes to play at the top level.

Which parts of your game did you have to work hardest on to develop and what came most naturally to you?

The part of my game I have had to work hardest at is my game awareness. I have had to adapt to what the opposition are trying to do and become more flexible to that. This involves having to make decisions quicker and thinking about what is best for the team in a split second.

Scoring and passing are aspects of my game which always came naturally to me. I was lucky that when I was younger my parents always took me to football for my club and school. I was always encouraged to work on my skills and try to get them to the best level I could and this is something I still try to do.

How did Orchard County development squad programs help to shape you as a player alongside your club and school?

I’ve been very lucky that I was born into a great club in Crossmaglen and went to a school in St Colman’s where a huge emphasis was put on football. The work that the academy squads did really put an emphasis on developing the weaker parts of my game. Also, they placed a lot of emphasis in preparing properly for games and training. These habits are something which I still use before games and have been invaluable to me.

How important has your practice ethic been to making yourself the player you are today?

To play at the top level you have to practice a hell of a lot. It is key to practice the fundamentals of the game regularly. During the season I like to go to the pitch for an extra kicking session at least once a week. The 10 minutes before training starts and the 10 minutes after it ends also provides a great opportunity to work with team mates on things which could come in useful during a game.

What advice would you offer a young footballer in Armagh moving towards secondary school age and wanting to play for their county in the future?

I would say to any young player to chase your dream. Try to get into good habits which will remain with you for the rest of your career.

Probably the most important thing is to take on board the advice of your coaches as they are only trying to help you achieve the potential that you already have.  And enjoy it!!!

Strength and Conditioning Benefits

A Proper strength and conditioning program will allow an athlete to strengthen supporting muscles, even out muscle imbalances, increase mobility, correct posture, stabilize joints, learn new movement patterns, enhance coordination and peripheral skills.

Injury Prevention

A key pillar in strength and conditioning training is fully assessing a players movement patterns so that you can use movement correct techniques to prevent injuries. Injury prevention is highly beneficial to athletes and amateurs alike.

An improved level of proprioception is often achieved with strength and conditioning work. Proprioception is the awareness of movement and position in the body. This can be worked on with specific exercises and balance work. The decreased injury as a result of strength and conditioning training also plays a large role in improving proprioception.

Improved Performance

A strength and conditioning program will look to improve your performance over time.  A Strength & Conditioning Coach is key to maximising your capabilities to improve performance as they will be able to identify key areas of improvement and also measure your results accurately.

Enhanced General Health

It is a truth universally acknowledged that exercise is good for our overall health and wellbeing, from mental to physical health. The combination of strength training, HIIT training, plyometrics and cardio conditioning that characterise strength and conditioning training help to increase cardiovascular health as well as muscular, skeletal and mental health.

Strengthen bones

Strength training doesn’t just increase the strength of our muscles, strength training also improves bone density.

Improved posture

With improved movement mechanics comes improved posture, something with our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, we could all benefit from. Improved posture can lead to better overall bodily functions including your respiratory system and circulation.

Improved mood

Exercise in all shapes and forms can help to release serotonin which improves mood and strength and conditioning is no different. Seeing the progress that comes with a science-based strength & conditioning programme can also be incredibly rewarding. As an athlete, strength and conditioning can improve your performance at a competitive level which is bound to be hugely exciting for any competitor!

Increased Muscle Mass and Metabolism

Strength and conditioning training helps to build muscle, which in turn gives your metabolism a boost as muscle burns more calories at rest.

Exercise Can Become More Enjoyable

When you move correctly and you notice improvements in your movement technique, exercise becomes more enjoyable. This is not only because progress is motivating, but also because strength and conditioning helps to prevent injuries by developing quality movement patterns. A reduced concern with the risk of injury also helps to make training more enjoyable!

Faster Recovery After Injury

One of the principles of strength and conditioning is to reduce injury through better movement, but unfortunately, sometimes injuries will still happen. Where strength and conditioning can help here is that your muscles will be stronger and more adapt which will aid the recovery process. A strength & conditioning coach will also be able to identify which movement patterns are out of bounds and how to use exercise to condition your muscles back to performance.

The circuit below is should be completed at least twice a week and you will find demonstration videos attached.

The number at the top of the table shows you how many times you should complete the circuit, i.e. 1.1.1 means you do each exercise in the circuit once using the prescribed reps, then you take a 2 minute break.

For example:

BW squat x 20

Press up x 10

Split squat x 10 each leg

High pull x 20

Lateral raise x 20

Rdl x 20

Squat jumps x 5


Rest 2 mins then repeat once more

Rest 2 mins then repeat again.


2.1.1 means that you complete the circuit twice before you get a rest, then you complete the circuit x1 rest x1.

The numbers indicate how many times you do the circuit in your session, so read carefully before you start!

You should complete the circuit at 1.1.1 x3 times during a week, or over 2 weeks, before you more on to 2.1.1 and then x3 at 2.1.1, and so on until you have completed 5 in a row x 3.

Main Session Set/Rep Set/Rep Set/Rep Set/Rep Set/Rep Set/Rep Rest
Circuit 1.1.1 2.1.1 2.2.1 3.2 4.1 5
BW Squat 20 20 20 20 20 20 2 mins
Press up 10 10 10 10 10 10
Split Squat 10 e/l 10 e/l 10 e/l 10 e/l 10 e/l 10 e/l
High Pull 20 20 20 20 20 20
Lateral band raise 20 20 20 20 20 20 Rest
RDL 10e/l 10e/l 10e/l 10e/l 10e/l 10e/l 60secs
Squat Jumps 5 5 5 8 8 10 60secs

Warm up

Normal mobility/warm up exercises,

Acceleration runs over 30m x 5 walk back between, – these are an extension of the warm up done at sub max speed

Part 1

Walk/jog or ¾ pace/jog ( you can decide what works better for you depending on your fitness level)

jog/run 20 secs/walk/jog 40 secs x 5

Part 2

 There are 3 sessions attached, each is progressive and will allow for different fitness levels. I would advised that you start at session 1 and do it x3 before moving on to session 2 etc. depending on your fitness levels you may want to start with 2 sessions a week or even 3, just make sure you space them out with at least 24 hr recovery between.

The session should be marked out as follows:

Start cone………………………………low intensity cone………………………………..high intensity cone

You have 30 secs to run to high intensity cone and back to start line, then 30 secs to get to low intensity cone (walk or jog) and back before going straight into the second run. You follow this until you have completed all the runs. If the HI distance is 120m the cone is marked and placed at 60m. if your fitness levels do not allow for this distance then adjust the cone to 50m or 55m and aim to work up to 60m before moving on. Likewise if this is too easy then move the cone out to 65/70m.

There is rest periods in the sessions but again if you need more or less please take them.

1800 Metres
30-30 Session

Session 1

Duration High Intensity Low Intensity
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
60 SECS REST 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
30 secs 120m 45m
Session 2
Duration High Intensity Low Intensity
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
30 secs 140m 60m
Session 3
Duration High Intensity Low Intensity
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m
30 secs 150m 75 m

Take a rest of 2 mins after 5 runs in session 3 if needed.

Simply Fruit
Mac Interiors