Folow us on social media

Sign up to our mailing list

belfast-met-clearing-days

McVeigh braced for challenging St James’ Swifts role

Martin McDonald heads the opening goal for St James’ Swifts during last Saturday’s remarkable 8-5 win over West Belfast rivals Donegal Celtic and new player/manager Dermot McVeigh insists his side must shore up their defence ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dunloy FC  Martin McDonald heads the opening goal for St James’ Swifts during last Saturday’s remarkable 8-5 win over West Belfast rivals Donegal Celtic and new player/manager Dermot McVeigh insists his side must shore up their defence ahead of Saturday’s trip to Dunloy FC 
By Staff Reporter

Ballymena and Provincial Intermediate League
Dunloy FC v St James’ Swifts (Saturday, 2pm, McCamphill Park)

NEWLY-appointed St James’ Swifts boss, Dermot McVeigh says he is excited to land his first major managerial role following the sudden departure of previous manager, Damien McStravick last week.

The West Belfast club remain in contention for promotion from the Ballymena and Provincial Intermediate League and are still involved in three cup competitions, namely the O’Gorman Cup, the McReynolds Cup and the Crawford Cup.

However, the club announced last week that they had parted company with McStravick by mutual consent after three years.

The club moved quickly to appoint first team player McVeigh to the role of player/manager and the former Cliftonville ace admitted he was caught off guard by the initial approach.

“There was a team meeting last Tuesday and our owner and the committee were there. I was asked to stay behind afterwards and they offered me the player/manager role,” said McVeigh.

“It was a shock to me and probably to everyone. The manager (McStravick) leaving by mutual consent was a shock to be honest.

“We have been going well enough this season. We were put out of a few of the big cups, but we are going well in the league and we are in the semi-final of two cups and the quarter-final of the league cup.”

McVeigh said he sought assurances from the club regarding his backroom team. Once it was confirmed that Daniel Murphy and Liam Martin would remain with the Swifts, he was confirmed as McStravick’s successor.

“I had some questions for them in terms of being a player/manager,” added McVeigh.

“I expressed some concerns that, when I am on the pitch, I need someone with me that I can trust to watch the match. The backroom staff that are there are brilliant and I get on really well with them.

“The first thing I wanted to do is make sure that they were on board.

“Overall, it is something I’ve always wanted to get into. It is far sooner than I expected – I didn’t expect it to happen when I was still playing. I’ve done a fair bit of coaching with the Super Cup NI teams and a bit with the Liverpool Football Academy over here.”

An Irish League winning defender with Cliftonville back in 2014, McVeigh stressed that he doesn’t envisage an end to his playing days any time soon.

Part of the reason he wanted clarity regarding his backroom team was to extend his own playing career for as long as possible.

“The message from the club was that they want be to continue playing for as long as I can. I am still 28, so I’d like to think I have another few years left in me,” said McVeigh.

“There are some adjustments I am going to have to make in terms of playing and managing. I’d love to be sitting watching the matches every week and see things on the field, but that’s where the trust with the coaches comes in with regards to valuing their opinion.

“I need those eyes on the sideline to feed that information back to me.”

Last Saturday’s extraordinary West Belfast derby against Donegal Celtic provided McVeigh with a guide as to the remarkable potential of his squad, but also highlighted the fact that they remain a work in progress.

The Swifts claimed three valuable points against DC in a thrilling 8-5 victory. However, having led 6-1 at half-time with Martin McDonald bagging a hat-trick, McVeigh was less than impressed by their defensive display.

“We had a good win over Donegal Celtic, but not as convincing as we would have liked,” stated McVeigh.

“We had a comfortable lead and we then made a few changes in personnel. At the end of the day, it is three points gained and eight goals scored.

“The big negative would be the five goals conceded at the other end and that’s the first thing we will be working on at training this week. We have to win every single game to give ourselves a chance.

“We know that every game from now until the end of the season is a must-win if we are to have any chance of going up. Glebe and Bangor play each other tonight (Wednesday) so somebody is going to drop points which is a big advantage for us.

“We were meant to play Brantwood, but it was called off due to a waterlogged pitch. It is frustrating the amount of games we are behind in the league.”

Having assumed duties on Monday, McVeigh will take charge of the team for the first time on Saturday when they travel to McCamphill Park to take on Dunloy.

Please follow and like us: