Club focus: Portavogie Rangers
Former Ards defender David Cully is enjoying is football, after swapping the Belfast Telegraph Championship for Division 2B of the Amateur League.
The 28-year old spent six years with Ards winning both a Championship One and Steel & Sons winners' medal. After briefs spells at Loughgall and Knockbreda, Cully re-joined his local team Portavogie Rangers, who Ards signed him from in 2007.
Portavogie skipper Cully said: “I think I've changed in some ways since my first spell at Portavogie. Playing at a higher level has given me more confidence and I think I've come out of my shell a little.
“I enjoyed some great times at Ards and I played against some quality players, so hopefully I can pass some of my experience on as captain.”
Former Amateur International Cully is thoroughly enjoying his second stint with Rangers.
“It's great, playing every week. I wasn't getting as many games as I would have liked towards the end of my spell at Ards. I enjoyed my time at Loughgall but the travelling was a bit much, then things didn't work out at Knockbreda. I'm now playing every week and enjoying my football again, which is what I wanted.
“I'm playing with a lot of old friends and I've no distance to travel to training.
“I'm a local lad, so this is a club very close to my heart. I know the club have ambitions to install a new 3G pitch, which would be a big boost to the club. Unfortunately they've ran into some funding issues, but hopefully something can be sorted out.”
Portavogie are locked into a five-way promotion battle at the top of 2B with Ardoyne, Basement, Drumbo and Greenisland. Cully is honest enough to admit that Rangers have their work cut out if they are to gain promotion to 2A.
“We're still in the mix with four games left, although things are a lot tougher for us after we lost to Drumbo during the week. We can certainly still get promotion but I think we would need to win our last four games and hope for others to slip up. We will certainly keep trying until it's no longer possible.
“We've a good bunch of boys here and a great manager in Paul Emerson. There is a great buzz at the club and if we don't win promotion this season then I think we will be well placed for next season to give it another crack.”
Ards fans will remember Cully as a right-back, but Portavogie have deployed him as a striker this season.
He explained: “At Ards, I always played in defence but I tend to play up front for Portavogie. I've scored 23 goals this season, so I think I'm doing pretty well. To be honest, I'll play wherever the manager wants me to play.”
Cully's brother James remains at Ards as first team captain. David would love to see his brother and Portavogie legend rejoin him at New Harbour Road, but he believes the Ards captain can still do a job at Irish League level.
“It would be nice to play with my brother at Portavogie again and I'm always telling him he should sign-up again, but I think he has a few years left in him at that level. I think he will stay at Ards for as long as he can as he loves it there, although I'm sure we will see him at Portavogie again one day.”
Portavogie's next match is against Grange Rangers at New Harbour Road on Saturday.
Club: Portavogie Rangers
Ground: New Harbour Road
Division: NAFL 2B
Manager: Paul Emerson