NEW Clann na nGael boss Noel Slane admits that he has had his eyes opened by the quality and commitment on display in the junior ranks of Tyrone club football, but as is the case at every level he knows that ‘momentum is everything’.
Having guided his new charges to two wins on the bounce, the Carrickmore native, who has a wealth of senior experience, has adapted quickly to what’s required at junior level.
His new charges sealed their second win of a promising campaig n on Sunday, beatingFintona to keep them well placed in a hugely competitive third division, the standard of which has surprised Slane somewhat.
“Coming from a senior background I didn’t know what to expect in the junior game,” he admitted.
“There really is little difference in quality and certainly no difference to the commitment and workrate.
“The standard is great, there’s lots of intensity.”
Clann na nGael have been on a learning curve during their three games so far – a loss to Newtownstewart was followed by a derby win at Glenelly and a home victory over Fintona.
A bright start against the Pearses provided the platform for Clann’s victory on Sunday as goals from Gareth McDermott and Aaron Devine and an impressive performance from Danny Ball earned the win that Slane felt they merited.
“We got off to a good start, the goals were important but we still had a lot of work to do,” he explained.
“We had several very good performances, yes Gareth was impressive and yes Danny worked hard as well – they are a great group of players.
“I think we deserved the win but we need to build on these two results,” warned Slane, who is aware of the lack of consistency that blighted the Clann campaign last season.
And while that is one thing he is keen to address, he has been delighted by the commitment he has received from the players and staff during the early stages of his tenure and he is hopeful they can continue this early season form.
“The players are giving it all in the games and in training, we saw that again against Fintona,” he beamed.
“We put a marker in the ground over the winter and we were determined that we would put in a lot of hard work in the pre-season.
“We started that work in December -a lot of clubs were not out, but that did not matter to our boys, they really bought into it and it’s clear that the boys want to give the best for the team.
“We have a plan in place and we are really keen to progress that, but if you don’t start to get the wins and get momentum you could be left behind – momentum is everything!
“The players have belief in the system and the game plan we are implementing, we do have players who can do damage and we have quality but we have another tough outing this week against Rock, but then again there are no easy games in this league,” he concluded.