Colin Valley and Bloomfield set to meet again as Border Cup kicks off
The season may only be a grand total of three weeks old - yet staggeringly, Colin Valley are preparing to do battle with fellow Division 1B outfit Bloomfield for the THIRD time already!
As the curtain rises on another Border Cup campaign, there would no doubt be an influx of correct score bets for this weekend’s encounter at Houston Park, if such a thing were available at bookmakers.
The sides looked well-matched at Colin Valley’s Good Shephard Road in their first league encounter a fortnight ago, and although their away fixture at Bloomfield was much more one-sided, the final scoreline was 4-1 in both.
So, what odds for another 4-1 to the Poleglass men? Valley boss Danny McMullan says there isn’t much to read into the results of those previous two meetings.
“They were tight games, definitely not 4-1 games,” he pointed out. “They put a lot of pressure on us in the first game… we were only 2-1 up till the last ten minutes. Then in the second, they had a few of their players out - it was a young side.
“I don’t know what sort of shape their team is in, but if they can keep their players in that first team, they can give it a good go in the league this season.”
As it stands, however, Bloomfield are rooted to the bottom of 1B, with just one point from four games, while Valley occupy third position, having won three of their opening four.
Perhaps it would be too much of a freak occurrence to see that scoreline repeated, but all signs are certainly pointing towards a comfortable away victory.
Yet McMullan is honest enough to admit that his thoughts couldn’t be further away from a run in this year’s Border Cup. After claiming last season’s 1C title in emphatic fashion, with an impressive ten-point advantage over runners-up Donard Hospital, Valley will be looking to progress up the divisions as quickly as possible.
That means no distractions… well maybe one.
McMullan admitted: “No disrespect, but I haven’t really considered the Border Cup or any of the other cup competitions, apart from the Steel & Sons Cup. That would be a great competition to go far in, and we are only four games from the final , so why not?
“But the league is our main priority. It’s our bread and butter. We have a lot of good youth coming through and last season showed us what we can do.
“Suddenly everybody is talking about Colin Valley. That will continue if we keep progressing, and if we keep everyone fit, I don’t see why we can’t hit our target of promotion.”
Perhaps conservatively, or perhaps realistically, the Valley boss has set his sights on the club making it into the Premier Division within the next five years.
Doubtless one of the greatest motivating factors would be a double-header with an Immaculata side that McMullan says he has a tremendous respect for.
He added: “You can’t help but respect what they have done - the way they have moved up the divisions and all the trophies they have won. They have established themselves as a top Premier Division side in a short space of time.
“We used to play the Mac a lot in the Dunmurry League, and they always beat us, but we played them in a pre-season friendly last year at the Grosvenor and it gave us an idea of how far we have come.”
As one of the founding members of Colin Valley, McMullan took a great deal of satisfaction in the club’s 20th anniversary celebration dinner last weekend. They may have a great deal more to celebrate when they reach their silver anniversary.