NCAFC U16 & U18 NIFL Academy Trials

A bright new future nurturing local talent is envisaged as Newry City AFC launch their new Academy in time for the 2019/20 season. Behind the scenes Academy Manager Martin McGuigan has been working with the Northern Ireland Football League to establish Newry City AFC as part of NIFL Development Leagues and 19/20 will witness a new era in the history of the club when we will have two teams competing at the highest level in the NIFL Academy League with teams entered at both at Under 16 and Under 18 levels.

It is the word Development which is most important to the McGuigan as he sees participation in these teams as stepping stones in a player’s career “Development is the word that is very important to me as Academy Manager. With NIFL support and through ongoing assessments we will have the assistance to develop both Newry City AFC as a club but also its Academy teams, setting standards and disciplines to help progress players into our first team and further if possible. I am also focused on coach education with an aspiration to develop our coaches to be at the highest level. We will be judged by setting and maintaining professional standards at the club and most importantly we will be given time to do so. The coming season will start a five-year strategic plan to gradually raise the standard on and off the pitch for our players. To make sure we have the best possible chance to achieve this I have focused on the recruitment of our coaches. This was a very hard process to find the right people and I’m delighted to say I believe I have done so. Each member of our coaching staff for U16 and U18 teams arrives with vast amount of playing and coaching experience and as an added bonus they are local people who have a history with football at The Showgrounds. Through myself and the coaching staff, Paddy Lundy, Chris Coffey, Simon Nicks, Conor Larkin, Damian McCorry, Gerry Keenan and Niall McCann with a few more yet to be finalised and of course Darren Mullen we will strive to create a player pathway from our Academy teams to our first team and have now created links to Northern Ireland International schoolboys and youth football. We also have added experience to extend this pathway towards English clubs which will be an added bonus for our players at Newry City AFC. I would like to say we are looking for players who are not only technically good but have a good attitude, are prepared to work hard and a desire to develop themselves both as a person and as a player on and off the pitch.

To be accredited as an Academy we have targets both to set and maintain which will be audited annually by the IFA. Our job is clearly not going to be an easy one, and that’s why together our team will be working hard in the background to achieve our goals.

The building for next season will start with Under 18 (Players born 2002/03) trials at The Showgrounds on the 7th & 9th May, players to arrive for 18:30 registration.

On the 13th & 15th May it will be Under 16 (Players born 2004/05) trials at The Showgrounds, players to arrive for 18:30 registration.

Any player who would like to take part in our trials for both U16 and U18 Squads should email the club at with the following details :

Name: Date of Birth: Position & any previous club(s).

(Players arrive in their own kit with whatever essentials they require. You will be met by members of the coaching staff and directed to the changing rooms).

We will email Players selected after these trials to play in a final game day, U16s V U18s for final squad selection.

Final selection Game Day: Monday 20th May at 7.30pm.

Newry City AFC U16 Coaches :

Chris Coffey:

  • Ex Newry City Player.
  • Played Professionally with Arsenal FC and Crewe Alexandra FC.
  • N.Ireland Youth international caps at U14, U15, U16, U18, U21s also played in N.Ireland ‘B’ international squad.
  • Played Irish League with Lisburn Distillery FC.
  • Coaching experience with English FA and presently doing B Licence at Newry City AFC.

Paddy Lundy:

  • Ex Newry Town player.
  • Playing career started with Hereford in the Carnbane League.
  • He had offers to sign at Celtic, QPR, Watford, Ipswich, Man United, and Nottingham Forest.
  • Signed for Nottingham Forest as a 14yr old.
  • Turned Professional at 17yrs old.
  • Professional career in England cut short through knee injury at 18yrs old.
  • International caps for N.Ireland at U15 and U18 level. 
  • Played Senior Irish League at Newry Town FC.
  • Played Senior League of Ireland at Dundalk FC.
  • Coached at youth level with Newry City FC and also in Local football.

Niall Mc Cann:

  • Studied Sport Coaching / Development and managed Manchester Metropolitan University 1st team.
  • Performance Analyst at Crewe Alexandra FC Academy.
  • Coached at Nantwich Town FC (Semi-Pro) community programme (2018). 
  • Coached with Respect Project Newry Youth Group.
  • Coached and played in Senior Carnbane League and worked with disability athletes.

Gerry Keenan:

  • Ex Newry Town player.
  • Has vast experience playing locally with Hereford, Rockview Rangers, Rathfriland – winning numerous league and cup titles.
  • Experienced Referee in Mid-Ulster and Carnbane League. Recently been assisting the U20s Coaching team and a life-long supporter of the club.

Newry City AFC U18 Coaches:

Simon Nicks:

  • Ex Newry Town Player.
  • N.Ireland U18 Schoolboys Head Coach.
  • Played for Luton Town FC and Non League football in England.
  • Played for Armagh City FC and Banbridge Town FC.
  • Coached at National League level over this last 10yrs with Local clubs.
  • 15yrs as Head of PE at a Local School.

Conor Larkin:

  • Ex Newry Town Player…
  • At youth level played locally with St Brigids FC and Barcroft FC.
  • Made his Irish League Senior debut at 16 for Glenavon FC.
  • Trialled for Man City, Middlesbrough and Preston North end.
  • Played at U14 and U16 level in the Milk Cup for Armagh – awarded player of the tournament. 
  • Experienced playing at Banbridge and Rathfriland and also as Player/Manager winning a number of titles.
  • N.Ireland International youth caps at both U17 and U18 levels

First Team and Academy Goalkeeping Coach:

Damian Mc Corry:

  • Ex Newry Town Goalkeeper. 
  • Current: Newry City AFC Senior goalkeeping coach.
  • Current: N Ireland Women’s Senior International goalkeeping coach.

Previous Experience:

  • Cliftonville FC Senior goalkeeping coach.
  • NI School-boys goalkeeping coach.
  • IFA County Performance goalkeeping coach.
  • Co Down Milk-cup goalkeeping coach.
  • Newry Town youth team & reserve team manager.
  • Played Senior League of Ireland with Monaghan Utd.
  • Played Senior Irish League with Newry Town FC and Larne FC
  • Also played with a number of Local Clubs at Junior and Senior Level.

Photographs Courtesy of Brendan Monaghan Photography