2021 Nursery Academy Update

Wed 19th May communications

2021 Nursery Academy Update

Carryduff GAC is excited to announce the start of its 2021 Nursery Academy on May 22nd

Location and Facilities


Carryduff GAC
Knockbracken Drive

Some of the main facilities within our Club grounds are as follows:

The club is currently expanding its facilities which will include an additional pitch, community walkway and a play park.  Other facilities are also being planned so please keep an eye on social media for updates.

Unfortunately, due to current COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the NI Executive and Ulster GAA, parents are not allowed to enter the club grounds unless they are helping with coaching or other administration roles.  Hopefully these restrictions will be lifted in the coming weeks so that parents can watch their child at play and enjoy a tea/coffee from The Hub during our sessions.

Nursery Academy Co-Ordinator

The 2021 Nursery Academy is co-ordinated by Enda McKenna.  General queries should be emailed to: carryduffgacnursery@gaa.ie

Who is it for?

The 2021 Nursery Academy is for children born between 02/07/2015 and 01/07/2017.  The Academy will be split into two groups as follows:

Group Date of Birth Band
Pre-School 02/07/2016 – 01/07/2017
Primary 1 02/07/2015 – 01/07/2016

Unfortunately, those children born outside these dates will not be able to attend.

 When does it take place?

The Nursery Academy will take place on Saturday mornings commencing on 22nd May and finishing at the end of September.  Please note that sessions typically do not run over the July holiday period (for one week).

Session times will initially be as follows:

Group Time
Primary 1 09:00 – 10:00
Pre-School 10:00 – 11:00

We hope in due course that current COVID restrictions will be lifted which will allow us to run one session on Saturday mornings for both age groups at the same time.  Further updates on the Nursery Academy programme will be communicated to Parents/Guardians throughout the year.

Dropping Children Off and Collection

As mentioned, parents/guardians are not at this time allowed to enter the club grounds.  Parents/guardians are asked to drop their child off at the main entrance gate ensuring that they have signed them in with one of the roll takers located here.  Your child will then have their hands sanitised and be escorted down to Pitch 1 to commence the session.

Please arrive early for the session which will help minimise queuing and large congregations of people at the club entrance gate.  Please also ensure that you have completed your child’s COVID Health Questionnaire on the morning of each and every session prior to leaving home (further details below).

The collection of children will be from the lower gate adjacent to Pitch 2.  Children will remain behind the gate with the coaches until they have indicated that they see their parent/guardian.

Please maintain social distancing at all times when dropping off and collecting your child. 

During the session, we require you to remain close by the pitch (ie within the car park) so that you are at hand if your child needs you.

What Your Child Will Learn

The sessions for each age group have been developed by experienced coaches within our club with an emphasis on FUN.  Each week, the sessions will be tweaked slightly to maintain interest of the children and coaches helping out.

As a GAA Academy, the children will get to sample all GAA codes along with developing their overall physical development by:

  • Providing the opportunity to be coached in boys and girls football, hurling and camogie.
  • Participating in exercises that will develop their ABC’s (Agility, Balance and Co-ordination) as well as basic running, jumping, catching, kicking and throwing etc.

The below image illustrates the session structure for each age group.  The children will be split into six groups and assigned to a station.  Each station will focus on a certain activity such as kicking, catching, bouncing, functional movement, co-ordination and evasion etc.  Children will have approximately 8-9 minutes at a station before moving on to the next one.


Due to GAA and insurance requirements, the club must impose a ‘No Pay No Play’ policy.  This means that annual membership for your child must be paid before they can partake in any sessions.  Annual membership for the Nursery Academy is £80.00/child.

Membership should be completed and paid for online prior to your child’s attendance.  Further information on how to go about paying membership can be accessed at the following link on the club’s website.  Annual family membership is also available.

Helping Out

If you are willing to help out, we require you to become an ‘Non-Playing Adult’ member of the club.  Please note that this requirement is due to GAA and insurance compliance.  Those willing to help out must also have completed an enhanced Access NI check and undertaken a GAA Child Safeguarding course.  Please make yourself known to Enda McKenna if you are willing to help out in any way.

Like all Clubs in the GAA, we are a voluntary organisation. Our Coaches, players and all members give up their time willingly to help develop Gaelic games in Carryduff.  Your help as a Parent/Guardian is essential for the successful running of the Nursery Academy.

The Nursery Academy is run solely by the Parents/Guardians of the children across the two age groups.  We not only need assistance with coaching but also a number of other roles such as: general administration; pitch set up; managing training equipment; first aid; roll taking; COVID Supervisors; time keeping and many more.

Please be aware that absolutely no experience is required to help out!  You do not need to have had a GAA background or have played Gaelic games before.  The more Parents/Guardians that help out the more enjoyable the sessions are for everyone involved.  Please remember that the ethos of the Nursery Academy is FUN!


We will communicate with parents/guardians primarily via the Heja App.  Please download the app to gain access to the Nursery Academy group ensuring that you enable notifications on your mobile device if prompted.  To get the Nursery Academy Heja code, please email carryduffgacnursery@gaa.ie. The app will outline when session times are on and you are encouraged to indicate if your child will attend in advance via the app prior to the session starting.  This will help us gauge anticipated numbers of attendees so that the sessions can be planned in advance.

Additional Nursery Academy and other club related information will be provided across our social media platforms.

COVID E-Learning and Health Questionnaire

Current restrictions require parents/guardians to complete a COVID-19 E-Learning Module for their child prior to attending the Nursery Academy.  This only needs to be completed once.  The module can be accessed at the following link.

On the morning prior to each and every session, parents/guardians must also complete a quick COVID Health Questionnaire for their child.  Parents/guardians will be able to complete this via their membership portal on the Foireann website once membership is paid.

Please ensure that you select the appropriate club age group when completing the declaration – ‘Academy Football P1 and Pre – School Nursery Academy’.


As the Nursery Academy is held outdoors, we are at the mercy of the weather which can change quite quickly at our grounds mainly due to its elevation and exposure.  In the past, this has resulted in occasional cancellations.  We aim to give parents and coaches as much notice as possible which will be via the Heja app.  Some sessions may also need to be cancelled part way through due to inclement weather.

Medical Conditions/Allergies

If your child has any medical conditions/allergies or additional needs that could impact on their participation or enjoyment of the Nursery Academy, please indicate this when paying membership and speak directly to the coach prior to the session.

First Aid

During the registration process, we will ask you to indicate if you have first aid training or come from a medical background i.e. are a doctor/nurse etc.  We will require first aid assistance during each session so please make it known if you have this expertise both during the registration process and at the beginning of each session.

 Star of the Week

Each week, a selection of children from each age group will be presented with a certificate for being ‘Star of the Week’.  This has proved extremely popular with the children over the years.  Children are selected randomly and will receive one certificate during the Nursery Academy.


We hope to take photographs of the children to highlight their activities to the rest of the Club and to also allow the children to see themselves at play.  You will be asked during payment of membership if you would like to have your child photographed or not.  Once parents/guardians are allowed to enter club grounds, please respect the fact that some may not wish to have their child photographed and so we would ask you to be mindful that any photographs taken by you personally should not be shared on social media as permission may not be given for a child to be photographed.  We will endeavour to only photograph children whose parents/guardians have given us permission to do so.  If they do appear in group photographs or in the background, we will endeavour to conceal their faces.

Clothing and Equipment

All children should bring a reusable water bottle which must be labelled with their name to each session.  Please ensure that during hot summer months, sun cream has been applied to your child prior to arriving for training if required.

Our sessions will be held on a grass pitch.  Although not a requirement for this age group, the wearing of studded footwear is recommended, especially when the grass is wet which will help prevent slips.

The Club grounds occupy an elevated site and can be cold and very windy on an otherwise pleasant morning.  Please make sure that children have appropriate layers of clothing with them and that all clothing is labelled with their name.

Children’s club branded jerseys and shorts are available from the O’Neills shop at the Kennedy Centre (Falls Rd) or via their website at the following link.  The club also runs an O’Neills order a number of times throughout the year for more specific items such as tracksuits and hats etc.  Details on the next order run will be communicated to parents/guardians when dates have been agreed.

There is no requirement for Nursery Academy participants to purchase or wear club branded gear.

Mentor/Coaching Courses Available

Parents/Guardians who are willing to help with coaching are strongly encouraged to undertake a foundation level GAA coaching course which is provided by Ulster GAA.  This is a very rewarding course and will help give you additional confidence when coaching children.  Please contact Enda McKenna who will provide further information.

Club Lotto

Membership fees alone do not cover the costs of running a club of our size.  The club lottery is a great way to raise much needed funds for the maintenance and development of the Club and its facilities.  The lotto is really simple to do and with a jackpot that has recently been as high as £20,000, what’s not to like?  You can sign up at any time and buy tickets as a one off or weekly entry.  Follow this link to find out more: Carryduff GAC Lotto.

 Children’s Return to Play Parent Checklist

  • Pay membership via the following link on the club’s website and set up a profile on the GAA’s Foireann website
  • Parents to complete the COVID E-Learning module via the following link
  • On the morning of each and every session, complete a quick COVID Health Questionnaire for their child via the Foireann website


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