DESPITE retaining just three players from last year’s squad, Tyrone Junior manager Martin ‘Hen’ Gallagher believes his young team can make their mark at this year’s SuperCupNI.
That quiet confidence is based on the fact that within the county under-15 squad there are at least half a dozen players who have already represented Northern Ireland.
In a series of warm-up games Tyrone have blown hot and cold but the Sion Swifts coach insists if his players can add consistency to their game they can go a long way.
“Things have gone very well for us in the build-up. We have a good squad, strong. There have been good days and bad days,” he said.
“I call them the Jekyll and Hyde squad. When they are good they are a joy to watch, other days they fail to hit the mark.
“When we get it right we have destroyed teams, then on other occasions the players have lacked the belief they are better than their opponents
“But hopefully we get it right on the week.
“If we do then this team can go a fair distance. I believe the draw was fairly kind to us although I don’t know an awful lot about our first opponents Plymouth Argyle.
“We have a chance, we have avoided the big guns.”
The bulk of Gallagher’s squad is made up of Sion Swifts and Dungannon United National League players with one or two others from the likes of Dergview, Ardstraw, Enniskillen Rangers and so on.
Team captain Peter Bell, Linfield has just returned from a trip to Austria with the Northern Ireland squad and Gallagher insists the international experience of a number of his players could be beneficial to his side’s chances.
The fact that quite a few also boast National League experience is, according to Gallagher, another major plus point.
“The likes of Peter Bell, Ben Gallagher, Ethan McGee and Matthew Thomas Smith and others have played with Northern Ireland,” he added.
“There’s plenty of experience there, I’m happy enough.
“I’m very hopeful and I think we have a real chance. It’s all about producing the goods on the day.
“A lot of these players have been used to playing a decent standard and that can make all the difference.
“If we can maintain a level of consistency during the week then who knows.”