Darren O'Neill hopes to help Belfast Star shine bright once again
Darren O'Neill is back in the hotseat at Belfast Star and relishing the start of the new All-Ireland SuperLeague campaign in a fortnight's time.
O'Neill, a former All-Ireland League winner with Star, has taken over from Neal McCotter who has stepped down to focus on his business. O'Neill had left the sport for a few years but was drawn back in earlier this year by the opportunity to coach the Irish Under-20s at the European Championships, where they finished 12th - the highest ever position by an Irish side.
O'Neill is all too aware that he has quite a challenge on his hands as it has been some time since Star were challenging for major silverware but he is focused on more of a long-term plan.
"I was on the web one night when I saw the job as coach to the Irish Under-20s come up and after a chat with my wife I decided to go for it. It was just perfect for me, it was just a six-month programme and I was able to get right down to work with the lads and thankfully it worked out very well," said O'Neill.
"That was what really got me back into it, so when the Star chairman Bill McCotter called me to ask if I would come back to be the head coach at Star I was happy to sit down and talk and take the job.
"It's been a barren few years for the club and that is not going to be turned around overnight.
"I am looking at more evolution than revolution... it's going to take time but we have been working hard and everyone knows that we have to meet the challenge in front of us, we can't shy away from it.
"We have a good nucleus of players and I want to get the best out of them.
"We've got our American coming in very soon and when the season comes around we'll be ready to go.
"The challenge is to make the club truly competitive again and I'm looking forward to that."