The Ladies 2nds, after two successive promotions, aim to consolidate their position in Junior League 1 this season. It’s here that they will face the 2nd XI teams of Pegasus, Ards, Ulster Elks, Belfast Harlequins and Randalstown among others, all on paper anyway, with superior club playing strength. However this is a squad and coach well used to punching above their weight and Davy Allen has been quick to seize on that point during pre-season training!
Last season, their first in Junior 2, the girls led the league from start to finish eventually triumphing by 2 points over Harlequins 3rds. That success was built around a solid defensive unit from the forwards through to the goalkeeper, all of whom had a clear idea of their role without the ball, conceding only 12 goals in 18 league games!
Player of the year and captain Nicola Greer along with Emma Clarke, Kerry Aiken, Natalie Rea, Lorna Murphy and Sharon Reid provided the experience, along with the energy of Aimee Logan, Lynsey McClintock, Rachel Murphy and Jenny Sutherland and the improved goalkeeping of Lauren Hanna was the key to sealing the league title in March.
"Yes we must bring exactly the same commitment and organisation to what we do without the ball; that’s the minimum we need," said Coach Davy Allen, "but we need to play a high tempo game with the ball and with that in mind look to the further development of all our players technically. Team spirit and being able to press and tackle only takes you so far. The addition of schoolgirls Emily Anderson, Sarah Montgomery, Stephanie Penney, Grace McCreadie and Emily Alexander to our 2nd and 3rd XI squads gives a clear indication of the Clubs willingness to develop young players."
"We have the added advantage of probably being the underdogs in the 18 games we play - a different mind set from last year and one that will suit our set up and the mentality of our players. There will be good days and bad days but we aim to be competitive in every game".