There doesn’t seem to be any hangover at Dromore Amateurs Ladies.
After suffering relegation from the top table of Northern Irish women’s football last year, they’re itching to get going again.
With a new coach at the helm, they begin their Championship campaign against Armagh City Ladies at Dromore Leisure Centre on Wednesday evening (kick-off 7.30pm) and the new chief says they’re not getting bogged down by a desire to bounce back at the first attempt.
“The gulf between the Championship and the Premier League is huge,” explained new boss Davy Welshman.
“Very few teams go up and stay up. Cliftonville did it after boucing up and down for a while but it’s quite a huge jump for a club. It’s like asking Linfield or Glentoran from the men’s league to go and play in the (English) Premier League. It really is that severe and I know a lot of people don’t believe that but it really is a huge jump.”
The side captained by Tracey Orr begin their campaign against an Armagh side that they will be familiar with, not least ex-Dromore duo Danielle Craney and Laura McGrath.
“It’ll be a strange one because the girls are very good friends of mine and Armagh also have a girl from Newry who I coached, so we all know each other well,” said Welshman. “Derry City finished third last year but I think for the rest of the Championship teams, it will be a wait and see type thing so we still don’t really know what to expect. For me it will be nice to manage my home team. I am buzzing for that. I think the girls have embraced that too.”
The former Linfield and Newry coach has a youth international at his disposal in Niamh Ruddy. He has also added his own players to the squad over the close season and isn’t ruling out further additions.
“Niamh has fantastic potential. We are hoping that she will progress through into the senior internationals.
“She definitely has the potential. In the team there is a lot of experience as well. Debbie Douglas is a winger who is very experienced. She is a good signing to have in the club and we are still hopeful for one or two more.”
The new boss has been putting his players through their paces since arriving in February but rarely without a ball at their feet.
“The girls are working really hard in training and when a new manager and new coaches come in there is that buzz,” he said. “I think the place gets a wee bit of a lift because invariably it is new ideas.
“I’ve brought a new way of training. My focus in training is not on running. I don’t believe that footballers should be 100m sprinters. I tell the girls they have to be good at controlling the ball with their feet because if they aren’t able to control the ball then there’s no point being able to run 100m in 10.4 seconds.”
The ladies usually train at Dromore Community Centre on Mondays 7-8:30pm, and new players are always welcome.