Last seasons double winning manager Shane McConville has confirmed that he will remain in charge of St. Paul’s for the forthcoming season, writes Eugene Creaney.
The Lurgan man told the Mail at the end of last term that he wouldn’t be making any decisions on his future until after the Christmas break, but now that he is back in charge his main objective is to finish in a credible place in the top flight.
Shane said, “I don’t think it’s enough to be aiming at avoiding relegation. I think our players with the experienced gained over the past couple of seasons are ready to push on and take another step forward. We are aiming to finish as high as possible in the First Division.”
Shane McConville’s ambitions for his team in 2015 comes with a proviso, he would be the first to admit that his team would suffer if both Andrew Murnan and Phelim O’Neill were on County duty for sustained periods.
The availability of both men would be crucial to St. Paul’s survival in the top flight.
“That is the thing about the first division in particular,” added Shane.
“ Teams who have all their players on board can do well, if we are without Phelim and Andy for long periods off course we would suffer, but we will have to see how things work out over the course of the season.”
With St. Paul’s having been drawn against St. Pat’s Cullyhanna in the opening round of the Senior Championship they will face a big test against the South Armagh side, a draw which is as big as they get according to the St. Paul’s supremo.
“It’s a pretty tough draw for us, but its a challenge and we have had no shortage of them over the past number of years,” explained Shane.
For the next number of weeks the Teghnevan men will be in the gym before facing a series of challenge games in the lead up to the new season.
They are capable of consolidating their top flight status in a year which will provide their manager with a stern test.
“The lads had a break following the many exploits of last season, the effort they put in was huge. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t push on this season. We played in Division 1 a couple of seasons ago, so hopefully we can learn from that experience,” concluded the manager.