CLOGHER Valley head coach, Stephen Bothwell could not really have asked for any more from their start to life in the All Ireland League.

The Valley currently sit top of Division 2C with five wins out of five and having worked their way into the season, Bothwell believes that they are starting to show their best form in recent weeks.

“Whenever we started I never thought we would be in this situation but the boys have taken to it well.

“It was a slowish start to the season, the boys came off the Canada tour and it was a wee bit hard to get momentum going.

“I felt at the start the boys were maybe playing within themselves and nervous but now they have a bit more confidence after the wins and we are now getting going.

“I felt this last two weeks we got good improvements in the team performance and we will need to continue that because we have some big games coming up. We have Bangor on Saturday and then we have two big ones away; Galwegians and Enniscorthy. If we could get some points out of those away fixtures it will leave us in not too bad a place going forward,” said Bothwell.

Valley made the long journey to Limerick to face Bruff last Saturday and they came away with a fine win over a team who had started the day sitting second in the table.

“Bruff before last Saturday’s game were joint second and they drew 26 all with Galwegians the week previous so we knew they would be at themselves as they are a good side, especially down there.

“We were made to work for our tries; our tries were good tries and it was very pleasing to put 36 points on them away from home,” he said.

Next up for Clogher is a meeting with fellow Ulster side Bangor and although they sit bottom of the table at present, Bothwell states that their performance against Galwegians last week shows what they are capable of.

“Bangor did really well last Saturday. In the closing stages, they were winning 26-21 and then Galwegians scored a try at the end to put the seven points on to beat them 28-26. I know they are bottom of the league but there must be something about them if they are doing that against Galwegians.

“That game is a real good lesson for us and will make sure that we are on the money this week. There is nothing really between the teams. Ballina are second last and they gave us as good a game as anybody has given us yet. It is all on the day and you have to get your own game right,” he added.

Valley have been fortunate so far on the injury front but they are set to lose centre Reece Smyton for three months as he undergoes surgery this week on a long-standing problem.

“We have been really lucky with injuries but Reece Smyton is going for an operation this week from a previous injury from last year so we will lose him for maybe three months and he is a big loss at centre but Robbie Mills has come in recently and has played well there.”