Reds fan Murray has hope in his heart for a Killyleagh resurgence
As a Liverpool supporter, Killyleagh YC manager Colin Murray shares the hopes and dreams of fellow Reds the world over, that new gaffer Jurgen Klopp can restore the fallen Anfield giants to their former glory.
But much closer to home, Murray has a rebuilding job of his own. As a player, he won just about every junior football honour going with the one-time Amateur kingpins he is now in charge of.
Currently at the bottom end of the Division 1A following their relegation from last season’s Premier Division, however, they have an uphill battle on their hands to restore the standing they once enjoyed in the local game - or anything near it.
Yet there are few men better qualified to achieve that lofty aim. As one of arguably the finest ever 11 to play at the Showgrounds, Murray has the knowledge of what it takes to bring success to Killyleagh, but also the reputation to regenerate a winning spirit at the club.
The respect he is held in has been apparent in the return of players such as Lee Morrison from Kilmore Rec and Jordan Kennedy from Ards Rangers. Darryl McConnell has also returned to the fold, while signing of Callum Dougan - the son of David Duggan, scorer of the winning goal for Killyleagh YC in the 2002 Steel & Sons Cup final - is both a reminder of the glorious past and perhaps a nod to a glorious future.
So what’s bringing the players back?
“Without blowing my own trumpet, I’d like to think I have played a part in that,” stated Muray. “In fairness, though, it hasn’t been a hard sell. They have been here before and they know what Killyleagh is all about.
“There has been a new three-quarter size pitch for training in place from around March, and the pitch has improved a lot from my playing days. The facilities are second to none, and the players want for nothing.”
And with developments at both Liverpool and Killyleagh, which does he believe has a likely chance of turning things around?
Murray laughed: “I would like to say both… I reckon I have the harder job though, as I don’t have the money Liverpool have. One thing I’d probably say for both is that it won’t happen overnight.
“Sometimes you have to take a step back before you can take two forward. I am not one for making stupid predictions, but no, I wouldn’t say promotion is completely out of the question at this stage. At the same time, it’s not something concerning me - my priority is to stabilise the club this season.”
Despite Murray’s own successful experience with Killyleagh, and the fact that the prospect of them dropping out of the top division was once unthinkable, the Showgrounds boss has warned against any complacency this season.
It may be tempting to consider that relegation couldn’t happen again, but after securing just four points from their first six games, you won’t find anyone there taking anything for granted.
“If you’re not careful, then of course, it could happen again,” stressed Murray. “But I am confident that we have the players to avoid that.”
Success is of a cyclical nature, and this has never been more apparent than amongst County Down rivals Killyleagh, Kilmore Rec and Downpatrick, whose players often circulate within the small radius that separates each.
With Downpatrick at the head of affairs in the Premier Division, you could forgive Murray for casting an envious glance towards his neighbours… but he insists that isn’t the case.
He added: “I wouldn’t say it hurts me that Downpatrick are doing so well at the minute. It’s simple - the team that does well attracts the better players, it was the same for us in the past - so it is a case of us making sure that we do well.”