Belfast Telegraph

We're going places, says Basement boss Ed Heaney

By Martin Mawhinney

No matter what happens now, Basement boss Ed Heaney can take satisfaction from the fact that his first season in Amateur League management has been a success… but you won’t find him uncorking any champagne bottles just yet.

The Grove Playing Fields side, who sealed the Division 2C title over a fortnight ago, can now go one better, as they look ahead to their forthcoming Cochrane Corry Cup final against Woodvale at Seaview next Monday (May 5, 7pm).

It’s a no-lose situation for Heaney, who, along with his players, appears to be taking everything in his stride, despite the exciting prospect of a double that lies ahead.

Traditionally, teams who have won Division 2C progress up through the Amateur League’s ranks at great speed, as shown by the tremendous progress made by teams like Crumlin Star, Immaculata and St Pat’s YM.

However, just as Basement’s manager won’t get involved in a discussion over who is most likely to win the May Day final, he doesn’t wish to look too far down the line in terms of what the long-term future may hold for his league champions.

He told The Park: "There is no point in getting carried away in making statements about what we might do next season or the seasons after that, but the ambition is there.

"I don’t want to get carried away, but it doesn’t take a genius to see this is a club that is going places.

"As for next Monday, I wouldn’t say there are any favourites for it. Woodvale are (two divisions above us) in Division 2A, but then, so are Ford… and we beat them in the semi-finals.

"The form book goes out the window, but I am expecting a tasty derby. I know there are a lot of people going, with plenty of support for both sides and plenty of neutrals, too."

The transformation at this club has been an eye-catching one, and at its heart, owes itself largely to a basic amalgamation between two clubs – Basement and York Road.

Such marriages are not always easy and not always made in heaven, but with the right guidance and results, this was destined to be a fruitful unison for all parties involved.

For Basement, it was an opportunity to bring in some much-needed youth, fresh ideas, and a new manager. And for the Heaney-led York Road, it was an opportunity for the players who had made it to the Junior Cup semi-final last season, yet had been unsuccessful with several bids to get their Ballymena & Provincial League club into the coveted surroundings of the Northern Amateur Football League, to finally reach their promised land.

Heaney explained: "It was smooth sailing all round. I signed 95% of my old players and kept a lot of the former Basement team on too. The mix of youth and experience, and the size of our squad, had a big part to play in our season.

"But the thing that really helped was signing about six new players, who had nothing to do with either club before. They helped gel everything, and everybody, together. Once we had that, it was all about getting the results."

And as far as Heaney is concerned, no result typified the commitment and spirit within his squad than the league trip to St Teresa’s in mid-January.

He added: "We had beaten them 3-2 at home the week before, but at theirs, we ended up 3-0 down after 15 minutes. Still, our boys came back and won it 4-3… they just never know when they are beaten."

Followers of Basement will be hopeful that this never-say-die attitude can be replicated, not only by the club’s first team next Monday, but also by their seconds, who play Portaferry Rovers Reserves in the Templeton Cup, also at Seaview on Wednesday, May 7, at 7pm.

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