Belfast Telegraph

Downpatrick building for future success

BY MARTIN MAWHINNEY

Downpatrick secretary Thomas Leckey insists there is no pressure on the club’s manager Kevin Trueman to secure a return to the Premier Division at the second time of asking.

Memories still burn bright of the Roscommon side’s appearance in the 2009 Steel & Sons Cup final, but this year’s beaten finalists are standing very much in the way of any promotion hopes they are harbouring.

Even with an imposed nine-point deduction following a disciplinary matter earlier in the season, Immaculata still hold all the cards in the battle for a top two finish in Division 1A, and the way things stand, they and runaway leaders Derriaghy CC are strongly poised to make their respective debuts in the Amateur League’s top flight.

Downpatrick may still have a say in that, and are currently in the best position to make sure the two leading clubs don’t have it all their own way… but Leckey has stressed the importance of patience as they continue to get themselves back on their feet again.

He told The Park: "Obviously it would be great to get promotion, but there isn’t any pressure from the committee to do it. If it happens, it happens.

"Kevin is building the team from scratch with a lot of young boys who don’t have the experience of playing in the Premier Division, so we know it takes time. Maybe it’ll happen this season, maybe it will be next season… who knows?"

The secretary has underlined the difficulty in getting out of Division 1A, and has pointed to the problems of other recently-relegated clubs from the Premier Division to illustrate his stance.

He continued: "It’s well known just how competitive this league is, and how tough it is to get out of it. Look at the clubs going down from 1A this season… it wasn’t that long ago that East Belfast and Wellington Rec were in the Premier with us.

"And if Immaculata and Derriaghy do go up, it doesn’t mean things are any easier for the rest of us. We just have to do it all over again with two other good teams who have come up.

"I know we have games in hand, but when it gets to the stage of three games a week, it is a lot to ask of the players. Immaculata have a strong squad and we are still rebuilding."

Part of that process is a restructuring of the club’s youth set-up, and one way to help attract that new blood will be the club’s proposed new home at Downpatrick Racecourse.

The move has been long awaited, and it appears that this is another case where patience will be a virtuous asset for everyone connected with Downpatrick.

Leckey added: "The planning has been approved, but we are still in the process of getting the funding we need for it all to go ahead. We will hopefully know more when we get to the summer."

Whether they eventually transfer to their new surroundings as a Premier Division or 1A club, it’s clear Downpatrick are steadily laying the grounds for a bright future.

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