NEW SWILLY ROVERS manager Gerry Crossan says he doesn’t need ‘super stars’ at Swilly Park, but that his men will battle for their points.
Although denied a win in each of their two Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League games so far this term, Crossan has been pleased with his squad since he assumed charge following Aaron Rogan’s departure.
Swilly led against both Bonagee United and Fanad United only to be hit by late concessions each time.
The Ramelton men are out of the frying pan and into the fire this Sunday when they make the short trip to face old foes Letterkenny Rovers at Leckview Park (kick-off 2pm).
“You don’t like losing goals in the dying minutes when you could be taking maximum points from games,” Crossan said.[adrotate group=”80″]
On Sunday, John McGarvey’s late goal for Fanad thwarted Swilly, who led thanks to a fine opener from Ryan McDaid.
“We probably have to be happy when you look at the chances the other teams and the possession that other teams have had against us.
“Bonagee, in fairness, deserved something against us, but we had real chances to put the Fanad game to put and it was disappointing to lose the goal late on. We weren’t clinical enough up to that point.”
Crossan has been involved in managing at inter-league level with the Donegal Schoolboys and also looks after underage teams at Swilly. This is his first venture into the Ulster Senior League.
He said: “It’s probably more than I bargained for, but the boys have responded well. We have 24 or 25 players in the squad and most of them are from the immediate area.
“The question I pose all the time to the boys is? Are we the calibre who will put an effort in and who are good enough to be here?
“We aren’t littered with high profile players, but it has been positive so far. We don’t need super stars, but these boys will spill blood and sweat – and that’s what they’ve given so far.
“After two games with them, they seem up to it. People doubted if we were good enough, but we want to show that people shouldn’t be overlooking us.
“They’re going to have to do this week-in, week-out, though. They’ll need to go out each week with a backs-to-the-wall mindset.”
Letterkenny are one of the early-season title favourites. Eamon McConigley’s squad has lost Mark Forker, who is moving to Dubai in the coming weeks, while David Shovlin is out injured.
As they showed on Sunday, though, when they drew 2-2 with Cockhill at the Charlie O’Donnell Sports Grounds, Rovers are battle-hardened and the new faces have slipped seamlessly into the squad.
Meetings between Letterkenny and Swilly have become the stuff of legend around the two clubs.[adrotate group=”53″]
It’s all new to Crossan, though. He said: “I’m only a ‘blow-in’ here so maybe I don’t get the sense of rivalry, but Letterkenny are a big club and for me this is another game that we want to get something from and for us to show that we have made progress.
“For the local lads, it’s maybe more personal.”
There are just two games down for decision on Sunday.
The other game sees Derry City Reserves host Bonagee United.
Bonagee manager Peter Moran was involved at Derry City’s Under-21s in a previous guise and Aidan McCauley, a recent recruit for Moran at Dry Arch Park, has signed for Bonagee having been at the Candystripes.
McCauley has shown his worth so far in his time at Bonagee and they’ll be looking to build on Sunday’s 2-1 win over Finn Harps Reserves, when Francesco Crisco and Aidan McLaughlin netted.
Kenny Shiels has been using the USL to blood young members of his squad and it has been common for members of the Derry first team to see action in the local intermediate grade too.
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League, Sunday October 9, kick-off 2pm
Letterkenny Rovers v Swilly Rovers Paul Duddy; assistants Marty Quinn and Vincent McLoughlin
Derry City Reserves v Bonagee United Packie Coll; assistants Marty McGarrigle, Michael Connolly.