Club captains look ahead

LURGAN captain Stephen Johnston and Waringstown captain Kyle McCallan can’t wait to get the new season underway after a long winter.

Waringstown will hope to match their cup success of last season with an equally impressive league return after finishing just four points behind Premier League Champions North Down.

“Our main aim of the season is to match our cup success of last season while at the same time push on in the league,” said Waringstown Captain Kyle.

“Winning the All Ireland Cup last year was beyond everyone’s expectations. Hopefully we can take one step further.”

The current holders of the NUC Challenge Cup and the Bob Kerr Cup have enjoyed three pre season wins in their preperations.

“We’ve been training since the weather has dried up. Our pre season games against Derriaghy and Muckamore ended in comfortable wins. We travelled down to Dublin to take on Phoenix too and that was another comfortable win.”

Waringstown have signed all-rounder Glen Addicott from South African side KwaZula-Natal after Obus Pienaar was ruled out with a back injury.

“Pienaar made a great impact last year but unfortunately he will be unavailable with a long standing back injury. The young lad Glen Addicott comes highly recommended,” commented Kyle.

“We were missing our professional towards the end of last season and we were very successful so we took great confidence from that.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s game against Ballymena, Kyle said: “Obviously it’ll be a tough game. Ballymena is a side who beat us last year and have some quality players. They’re a difficult side to beat.”

Meanwhile Lurgan captain Stephen Johnston feels Lurgan have done more than enough in training to start the season with a bang.

“We’ve been training for eight or nine weeks and been using the indoor nets at Wallace in Lisburn, as well as Wednesday night training sessions,” said Stephen.

“There’s been a very good atmosphere at training this year and for me it’s one of the best pre seasons we’ve ever had.”

Stephen is hoping the local support will turn out in great numbers this year as the club aims for promotion from the Ulster Bank League Section One Division.

“Our first aim has to be to try and gain promotion, our second aim is to blood some of the youthful talent at the club and I want to promote the local loyalty at the club by getting the numbers here this year and get people to support the players.”

Lurgan face two tough away league fixtures at Downpatrick and Muckamore before playing at Pollock Park against Bangor so a strong start will be vital for a successful campaign.

“We have five tough games to start off with this season,” he said. “This weekend’s game at Downpatrick will be one of the toughest of the season.”