PORTAFERRY will be in ‘brilliant hands’ in the next few years according to current manager Gary Smyth.
He says so because they have welcomed a string of young, and exciting players into the team this season, and they represent the future of hurling in the club.
“We are depending on the young fellas. We have got a lot of new young fellas coming on the panel this year. They had a run of three minor championships in a row, and they are just getting the fruits of that now. They are coming onto the senior panel and they are developing. The Antrim league was brilliant for them. We had to use them because we didn’t have our county players. So we used them and we did well.
“We have five 17 year olds who are coming in. We are going to have to rely on them as the experienced players are gone.”
He is talking about players such as Tom McGrattan, Ryan O’Neill and Ciaran Savage. Tom McGrattan has started every game and scored well in every match. The new blood is needed though as Portaferry have been hit by a string of injuries this year.
Smyth said that the squad has been depleted over the past few weeks. They have picked up a series of injuries. Eoghan Sands season is over after his ankle went against Ballycran last weekend. He had only played a couple of games, so his campaign is over before it really got started.
Barry Trainor has played one game this year. Shane Conlan is also missing. Conor Mageean the captain is out as well.
This weekend Portaferry play Ballygalget. The Port are top of their group alongside Ballycran and almost certain of a place in the final.
Ballygalget are struggling, and have lost Danny Toner and Gareth Johnson, and Jordan Doran.
“With John McManus being out most of the year they are struggling. Their strength is up the middle though and we need to take care of that. We expect to win. But it is a derby match so you don’t know what could happen.”
Smyth said that his team has plenty to improve on. They missed a lot of chances against Ballycran last weekend. However, there are big positives.
“Our fitness has been great. We have had a new strength and conditioning coach this year, Stephen Conlan. He is the best thing that has ever happened to Portaferry. He has helped the young players. In a couple of years time Portaferry will be very hard to play against.”