Manager’s corner (19.8.14)

My first report of the campaign comes after a mixed start to the season. Our first 3 games have resulted in a draw, a loss and a win. Whilst there is no need to panic at this early stage, we know that performances will need to be improved upon to give ourselves a chance of success this season. We have seen already in our opening two league games that the standard is higher than last season with less time on the ball and games played at a higher tempo. It’s a challenge that we must rise to but one we are also looking forward to. The players are preparing in the right manner and with a bit more luck in front of goal we could easily have been sitting with 6 points instead of 1. However defensive mistakes will need to be limited and we
can’t afford to feel sorry for ourselves. We have brought in 10 new players and it will take time for them to adjust to our style of play but there have been enough signs in the past 2 games to show we are on the right track.

After our win against Richill we have a further two cup games before we return to league action. They are both tough games but a good cup run is something we are looking for this season with the hope of silverware along the way. The draw for the Irish Cup takes us away to Strabane Athletic in what is sure to be a tough game. They took Premiership side Ballinamallard to a replay last season before being narrowly defeated 1-0. However, I’m sure they realise they could also have had an easier draw in this first round stage and we will go there in confident mood. The fact that we beat Richill 5-2 with 8 senior players missing shows the depth we have in the squad and with the league and 6 cup competitions we are going to need every member of that squad.

Finally I would like to wish our ladies team the best of luck in their Irish cup final against Linfield. They have been doing extremely well over the past few seasons and would be a terrific achievement if they were to bring the cup back to Newry. Hopefully by this stage the powers that be have seen sense to change the time of the final to allow players and fans to attend.

Yours in sport,