Belfast Telegraph

McDermott reveals the reason behind Abbey Villa's fantastic form

By Martin Mawhinney

If ever there is a player who embodies the early-season resurgence of Abbey Villa, it is Gary McDermott.

The pint-sized wing wizard left Ards Rangers to pursue a new challenge with the Millisle outfit around this time last year, and has played his part in what is shaping up to be quite a reversal of fortunes for his new club.

Villa have begun their league campaign with six straight wins, already with a comfortable gap giving them an advantage over the chasing pack behind. 

The secret to their success? Confidence.

And few thrive on that confidence more than former Crusaders Youth player McDermott.

He explained: “Winning breeds confidence… and that is such a big part of winning.

“I had that when I was at Ards Rangers with Lee Forsythe – his man-management skills were really good, and just before kick-off, he would make you feel as if you were the best player in the league.

“It’s something similar at Abbey Villa. TJ (Young, Villa manager) was the reason I joined the club. He gets the best out of me and has added consistency to my game. He has me feeling now that I can be the difference between us drawing or winning a game.

“I like to do my best to repay the faith he shows in me.”

And so far, that is exactly what he has done.

Goalscoring has always been a major part of McDermott’s game, and he has continued that theme with four already to his name in the current campaign.

Last season, despite arriving two months in, he still managed to finish as Abbey Villa’s top marksman with 14 goals from midfield. Prior to that, he headed the Ards Rangers goalscoring charts with 26 in the 2012/13 season.

He should face healthy competition from the club’s new strike trio of summer arrivals in Jordan Dalzell, Jordan McMillen and Gavin Munn, but won’t be concerned if he isn’t the leading scorer this time around, as long as the results are favourable.

McDermott continued: “I go into games every week thinking I can score. But my game is changing this season. My role is to create as many goals as possible, and if I can score a few myself too, all the better.”

Making the move from Premier Division pace-setters Ards Rangers to Abbey Villa (who were struggling near the bottom of Division 1A when he joined) may be viewed by many as a downward step, but McDermott didn’t see it that way.

Having helped his local club Shankill United to consecutive 2A and 1B titles before they finished second in 1A in the following season, McDermott feels there is potential for something similar in the pipeline from the Adams Park men.

However, he certainly isn’t getting ahead of himself at this stage.

“It’s a bit early to me to talk about what chance we have of winning the league, in September. Maybe I will have a better idea in Easter!

“TJ has said that most of our wins have come against teams that mightn’t be challenging for the title, but we did beat Dunmurry Rec 6-3 and I think, after being relegated from the Premier Division, they would have to be contenders to go back up.

“I would say Downpatrick are the favourites, Crumlin United are looking decent and Lisburn Rangers have a good team and manager. I reckon they will be the main teams to beat.”

Yet with the blistering start Villa have made to the 1A season, there will be no shortage of clubs lining up to be the first to end their winning ways.

No question about it, right now they are the team setting the standard.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph