By Barry O’Donnell
RYAN McMenamin was a busy man last weekend. Hours after steering Dromore to an impressive eight-point victory over Dungannon in their opening league game of the season on Friday night, he was due to catch a ‘Red Eye’ flight Saturday morning to London in his role as part of the Cavan backroom team for their tussle in the Tailteann Cup.
That also proved a successful outing for ‘Ricey’ with the Breffni Blues prevailing but once the inter-county scene concludes, he will be fully on board the club front with his native St Dympna’s.
Dromore had 10 different men on the scoresheet in the course of their 1-19 to 2-8 triumph against the Clarkes, not a bad stat given Emmett McNabb, so often their attacking talisman in recent seasons, is currently Down Under, while other pivotal performers in Niall Sludden, Ronan McNabb and Peter Teague were also unavailable.
Commenting on their encouraging attacking tally, McMenamin joked that there was a notable step up in accuracy and potency from their previous training stint.
“If you saw us last Sunday at training, attacking wise you would have thought differently. But fair dues to the lads they brought their shooting boots. We worked well and got the scores. It’s the first game of the league and a lot of boys probably thought they had a point or two to prove. Wee Emmett is in Australia and people maybe reckon we are a one man show so others know they have to step up. But we were happy enough with the result and the performance. It was nice to get the two points and to get a win at home at Gardrum.”
While experienced operators in Sean McNabb and Aodhan O’Donnell again proved their value to the team cause, ‘Ricey’ was especially satisfied with the contribution of one or two younger recruits to the senior set-up.
“We brought in a couple of young players. I thought Johnny MacRory was superb and Conor Colton came in and did really well on Paul Donaghy. Hopefully he can build on it and go on from there. He was part of the Tyrone u-20s this year and has been playing well at training. So I had to give him his chance.
“We have a right few injuries and have the county boys missing as well so it’s one of those things. We know we have to blood one or two younger players and see where they are at. I looked at our reserve bench and I think they were all boys under eighteen. The squads seem to be getting younger and younger. But we want to get momentum and we want to get building.”
The Dromore boss was mainly pleased with the effort of his troops and added that the fineries in their game can be brushed up as the season unfolds.
“The boys have put in a serious amount of work in the pre-season. Paul (McIver) did a lot of work with them while I have been away with Cavan.
“We know that Dungannon were also short a few and who knows on down the line we might meet them in the championship.
“We just told the boys to go out and work hard and that is what they did. Whatever about tactics if they work hard you can ask for no more at this stage of the season. Granted we gave away two soft goals but that’s football.
“Hopefully we will learn from it. We have Errigal next Friday which will be another test but it’s just great to get the season going.”