‘It’s during testing periods like this that you learn more about your players and also myself as a manager but I have no doubt we will all look back on this run as an experience that made us stronger.’ Those were the words I used in my last Manager’s Report back in December when we were on a poor run of form and thankfully we can look back on that period as a positive experience. It certainly didn’t feel like that at the time but what it did do was make us a better and more unified group. To be preparing for life in The Championship after only 4 years following our reformation is a credit to everyone involved both on and off the pitch. Our season in the Premier Intermediate League certainly wasn’t easy but we adapted very quickly and apart from our mid-season blip I don’t think anyone can argue that we deserved our promotion. Although we were disappointed not to win it the league table doesn’t lie and Limavady were deserving winners.
The manner of our play-off win gives us confidence entering into The Championship and made the coaching staff extremely proud of the players. They have been a terrific bunch to work with and listened to everything we had to say to them. To have 15 local lads make their Irish league debut can only be good for them personally but also for the club as a whole. It only reinforces what we are trying to do in giving the best local talent a platform to show their talent and hopefully that continues. The fact that the reserve team also won their league bodes well for the future of the club and with a new U20 development team planned it’s a great time for any young lad to be at the club.
As with any successful team players will move on at different stages. Mully and Murph have both moved on but having played a massive part in our revival they will always be welcome back at the club. What we need to continually do is add quality to the squad and that is what we have been trying to do since the season finished. Stephen Hughes and Stephen Maguire have already signed and we hope to add a few more over the next week. We don’t need a complete overhaul of the squad but those fresh faces will add competition to what is already a strong squad. The fact that all our players have re-signed shows the faith they have in what we are doing and how much they enjoy playing for the club. Work is also ongoing in preparation for preseason and we have some really good games lined up to make sure the players are tested to a level that will have them ready for the first league game. I have always made our preseason games as difficult as possible and it’s a perfect time to learn from any mistakes which undoubtedly will be made.
Finally I would like to thank our fans and sponsors for their continued support. The crowd at our home game against Armagh made it a great atmosphere and certainly helped the players lift their game. From our first game in Intermediate B they have followed us in their numbers and as a group we really appreciate that loyalty. I’m sure they will look forward to some big games next season and hopefully we can continue to give them something to smile about. We will now take a well deserved break and recharge the batteries in preparation for what will hopefully be another exciting season.
Yours in Sport,