Clogher Valley have pledged to look toward youth as they embark on their season in Kukri Qualifying Two.

Following a hugely successful period in the club’s history laden with trophies and title challenges, last season saw the team relegated from the top flight after a season of struggles.

Head coach Stephen Bothwell is the man tasked with leading the team back to Qualifying One, but he admits he is unsure how the new look squad will fare in a new division.

“We have a lot of young players coming in and we are trying to bed them in and play a good brand of rugby,” he said.

“We will see how they start but it’s very hard to gauge. I think there are a few teams who have made big progress in signings in Qualifying Two and it will take the first three or four games to see where we are and then we will make an assessment on it.

"If they perform like I think they will then we will be there or thereabouts, but we are not jumping up and down shouting that we must go up.

"Yes, in the next two to three seasons I would like to think we will be up, but this year we might find ourselves going up and we might not.”

Stephen is aware that it may take the team time to gel together as there has been a large turnover of players in recent seasons. This season the team will again have a different look, with the familiar faces of Ryan and BJ Wilson no longer among the players they can count on.

“There is a few of the older heads that have said they will help out if need be, but they are not going to be regulars, like the Wilson brothers who are a massive loss and very hard boys to replace,” acknowledged Stephen.

“They have been there for years and gave us a hard edge to the team but we have to play with the younger boys because they are the future.

"When they do get up they will be coming up with us, so there is no point playing the older boys and then being caught out when you do go up.”

Stephen is keen to point out the positives of refreshing the squad and is hopeful some new and returning players will give them the quality and energy they need to break back into the top flight.

“We have got Rodney Bennett back from Dungannon and Paul Armstrong and there will be a few of the ERGS boys, Reece Smyton and Eunan Haire, that will be featuring among the young lads that are coming through.

"We have a young lad from our own under 18s Aaron Dunwoody that will be there or thereabouts as well.

"Hopefully we will get good performances and the results will happen,” commented Bothwell.