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Sprint sensation Sexton takes up place in Ulster academy

Ireland’s fastest schoolboy has chosen rugby over athletics.

Sexton featured against Gloucester in a pre-season friendly last summer.
Sexton featured against Gloucester in a pre-season friendly last summer.
Image: Sportsfile

AARON SEXTON, THE fastest schoolboy in Ireland, has been confirmed as one of five new players entering the Ulster Rugby academy for next season, as the prodigiously talented teenager chooses rugby over athletics.

18-year-old Sexton produced a record-breaking performance at the Irish Schools Championships in Tullamore earlier this month, sealing a sizzling double in the senior boys’ 100 metres and 200 metres events.

But the Bangor native’s switch to full-time rugby has been confirmed with Ulster announcing their academy in-take for the 2019/20 season, including Sexton and Harlequins centre Hayden Hyde. 

Whilst in school, Sexton made his senior Ulster debut in a pre-season friendly against Gloucester last August and then starred for the province’s ‘A’ side during their British and Irish Cup campaign, scoring seven times in six games. 

Joining Sexton in Year 1 at the Kingspan Stadium is Irish-qualified centre Hyde, who makes the move from English Premiership side Harlequins. The teenager has already represented Ireland at U18 and U19 level.

Following a year in the sub-academy, prop Callum Reid has been awarded a full-time place in the academy. Reid represented Ulster ‘A’ in the Celtic Cup and was part of the Ireland U20 Six Nations Grand Slam-winning squad.  

Hayden Hyde with Joey Walton and Jeremy Williams Hayden Hyde in action for Ireland U19s last year. Source: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

“Last year was a really successful season in terms of the contribution academy players made at senior level, which is ultimately what we are here to do — develop players of the requisite quality to represent Ulster and Ireland,” Ulster academy manager Kieran Campbell said. 

“We still believe there is significant opportunity to grow again this year and we are excited about the new batch of players joining our programme.

“Each year we are driving increased standards so I congratulate those who have been awarded a place in the academy and look forward to seeing how they develop into the future.”

Ulster academy 2019/20:

Year 4:

  • Aaron Hall

Year 3:

  • Graham Curtis
  • Matthew Dalton
  • Joe Dunleavy
  • Jack Regan

Year 2:

  • Matthew Agnew
  • Azur Allison
  • Bruce Houston
  • Iwan Hughes
  • David McCann
  • Stewart Moore

Year 1:

  • Hayden Hyde
  • Conor Rankin
  • Callum Reid
  • Aaron Sexton
  • Tom Stewart.

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Ryan Bailey

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