DROMINTEE coach Stephen Dyas views Saturday’s Paul McGirr Ulster u-16 Championship decider against Errigal Ciaran as an opportunity to showcase themselves in the provincial spotlight.
This is a golden opportunity for Dromintee as they bid to claim their first ever Paul McGirr title, one that has come about after years of concerted effort from dedicated club people.
In the here and now they claimed the Armagh u-16 Championship with a replay victory over St Peter’s, Lurgan before carving out a hard-earned victory over Carryduff in a rearranged Paul McGirr semi-final last Sunday.
That game should stand to them as they finalise preparations for Saturday’s final against Errigal Ciaran and Dyas says they are relishing the opportunity at hand.
Dyas said: “It’s very exciting, there’s been a lot of work put into the underage set-up around the club over the last number of years and now we are starting to see it come through at different levels throughout the club.
“Any chance to compete against the best teams in Ulster is a fantastic opportunity. We experienced a tough encounter against Carryduff on Sunday, a physical and powerful team who made it really difficult for us for most of the game. We didn’t perform to the level that we perhaps want to, with quite a few handling errors and mistakes that we wouldn’t usually make.
“Thankfully we were able to gain enough momentum and get the win in the end. The squad are really looking forward to the game this weekend. – it’s an exciting chance to showcase what they have to offer for the rest of Ulster to see against a strong Errigal team.”
Dyas is still a youngster himself – he’s goalkeeper on the Dromintee u-21 team – but he’s hugely interested in the coaching side of things and linked in with u-16 managers Aidan O’Rourke and Kevin Toale a couple of years back.
“I joined Aidan and Kevin nearly two years ago and since then I haven’t really looked back. We’ve been involved with two teams each year so I suppose there isn’t much time to think about anything. With one season ending, it’s been straight into planning for the next season to begin.
“I’m looking forward to coaching the minor team next year and hopefully achieving more success for the club. I have tried to develop myself as a coach as much as I can, getting my Level One course recently as well as attending different coaching days throughout the year.
“Working with Aidan and Kevin has given me so much experience and has been a great learning experience for me. Hopefully I can keep it up and continue to develop as a coach.”
Dyas is mindful of Errigal Ciaran’s attacking threat having plundered 7-10 in their semi-final rout of Kinawley. At the same time, they’re confident in their own ability so they won’t get too caught up in what the Tyrone men will bring to the party.
“When we enter competitions like this, there is an element of entering the unknown. Of course Errigal are the Tyrone champions and that in itself will bring a lot of respect from our end. The scoreline they put up against Kinawley in the last round shows that they have an incredible scoring threat and that is something that we have to be wary of.
“Generally in these games we have to focus on ourselves and that’s what we will do this week. We’ve plenty to work on from our own semi-final and hope to tidy a few things up to give a better account of ourselves.”