As we prepare for our return to Irish League football this weekend there is a great sense of excitement about the club. We have worked extremely hard both on and off the pitch for this to happen. Once the players take the field there will be a moment to appreciate what we have done but that will quickly be replaced with a determination to keep pushing forward. I am under no illusion how difficult this season will be for us but it’s where we want and deserve to be. We have gathered a squad that we feel will be able to compete at this level and our preparations for the new season have gone very well. The games, training sessions, our away day and our hike up Slieve Donard have all helped to create a good team spirit. The new signings have not only added experience and quality to the squad but have contributed to what was already a very good atmosphere within the changing rooms.
It’s always nice to kick off our season at home but Moyola will offer a stern test in our first league game. With the league now condensed into 12 teams there really won’t be any easy games this season. We are going to have to adapt very quickly to a quicker, more physical league and a higher standard of football than we have been used to. That said we won’t be a pushover for any team and are more than ready for the challenges ahead. We have worked too hard as a group to bring the club back to this level and we intend to keep progressing. Our away draw to Ards in the league cup has been rightly described by many as a very tough draw especially as they were last year’s beaten finalists. However these are the games that we want to be playing in and we should be looking forward to testing ourselves against Premiership teams.
Credit must also be given to the work being done by the reserve and youth team management in preseason. They are all ensuring that the best young players within the area are being given the best opportunity to step up to first team football. This is by no means easy but it’s vital we have a continuous supply of local players feeding into the senior team. As with any team that progresses we have lost some players along the way and I would like to take this opportunity to wish Sean Hand, Mark Lowry and Ben Wilson all the best in their future careers. They have all contributed to the success at the club and will always be welcome at The Showgrounds.
Finally I would like to thank our sponsors and fans who continue to back the club. Whilst we are working hard to achieve success on the pitch we couldn’t function without your unwavering support off it. Hopefully we can continue to give you something to cheer about and I can guarantee you that we will give all that we have to continue the good work at the club.
Yours in Sport,