DONEGAL GAA HAS named Karl Lacey as the county’s Head of Academy Development.
The appointment comes after Lacey stepped down from his role as a selector for the county’s senior football team, having worked on Declan Bonner’s backroom staff for the past three seasons.
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One of Donegal’s most decorated footballers, Lacey retired from the inter-county game in 2017 after winning four All-Star awards. The defender’s career peaked in 2012, when he was named Footballer of the Year after Donegal were crowned All-Ireland champions.
At a meeting last night, the executive of the Donegal County Board endorsed a new academy development structure which was presented by Aaron Kyles, the Games Development Manager. The structure will be put in place to aid the development of players and coaches at club and academy squad level.
Lacey’s appointment is part of the new structure, with the 36-year-old Four Masters clubman and Kyles set to take the lead on the design of Donegal’s academy programme.
Limerick native Dr Micheál Cahill – the Vice President of Performance and Sports Science at Athlete Training and Health, a sport performance company in Texas – will serve as Athletic Performance Consultant.
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“The aim is to nurture emerging talent in the county – directly with academy squads and indirectly by providing support to clubs,” reads a Donegal GAA statement.
“This will be achieved by providing a holistic and progressive long-term player development programme to coincide with the GAA’s new Player Pathway Model for sustained results both on and off the field, across all levels of development in the county.”
The statement adds: “County chairperson Mick McGrath welcomed the addition of Karl [Lacey] to a pivotal role in this improved Donegal youth coaching infrastructure in what would be a big step forward for underage coaching in the county.”