| 2.4°C Belfast

Club focus: Ford

Once upon a time Amateur League boss John McGrath was preparing to replace Tommy Breslin at Crumlin United.

Now, Breslin is celebrating his second Irish League title while McGrath is the manager of 2A side Ford.

But McGrath is still enjoying his football and is optimistic about his future at Ford.

“My claim to fame is I replaced Tommy Breslin as Crumlin United manager after he was sacked seven or eight years ago. Tommy became a coach at Cliftonville, while I stayed in the Amateur League, and the rest is history.

“When I first moved to Ford five years ago or so we had a lot of success, winning 2A and the Cochrane Corry Cup. Since then things have dried up a bit, but I feel we're moving in the right directions.”

Traditionally, Ford are one of Junior football's most successful clubs, but in recent years they've struggled to challenge for the 2A title. As a result, McGrath and the Ford committee decided to take a different route.

“At the AGM last season we decided to change things. For a while we've been relying on more experienced players, so we decided it was about time that we brought through a few young players.

“Of course, the problem with that is it takes young lads a little bit of time to settle in. We brought through a few lads this year and we will do the same next season. I'm confident they will learn from the mistakes we have made this season and we will be better for it next year.

“They're good players but at this moment in time they're just lacking a wee bit of something, that is required to play at this level.”

Ford look set for a fourth place finish. McGrath believes with a little bit more luck in front of goal it could have been a different story.

“Our problems started on the first day of the season when we didn't have a proper goalkeeper. We had to play a lad in nets who was only 5ft tall, and he was getting chipped from all over the place.

“Of the course of the season we dropped silly points here and there, and when you add those up we really could have challenged for the title.

“Our problem was we didn't score enough goals. We signed former Dromara Village player Declan O'Connor, who would have made a massive difference. He promised us the sun, the moon and the stars but he left to go back to Dromara, after a few weeks.”

McGrath believes that Greyabbey side Rosemount Rec will win the 2A title, something which he believes bodes well for Ford.

“We beat Rosemount three times this season and now it looks like they're going to win the league. That's frustrating but at the same time in shows what we are capable of.

“I've a few irons in the fire for next season. We're keen to sign a new striker and if we can do that then I'm sure we can be a force next season.

 

Name: Ford

League: NAFL 2A

Ground: Strangford Avenue

Colours: Yellow and Blue

Gaffer: John McGrath

Skipper: Chris Flan

Sharpshooter: Manual Donaghy

Most Skilful: Gerard Lecky

Hard Man: Gerard Lecky

Best Moment: Getting put of the cups by the eventual finalists

Club Man: Secretary Gary Kelly

Belfast Telegraph