Clogher Valley are in the middle of a rebuilding process but coach Davy Black firmly believes that with the young talent they have coming through the club, they have more than enough to hold their own in Ulster Rugby Championship Division One.
Clogher have freshened things up on the coaching side of things as well as the playing side with Hemi Taukiri coming in as Head Coach but he is unavailable until mid September and Black, who will be assisting him when he takes over the position, will be in charge until then.
“We are in the middle of rebuilding at the minute but I have a great batch of young players waiting to come through,” said Black.
“I would say that we are two or three years away yet from completing that redevelopment but I’m happy enough with what is coming through at the club. There is a great buzz about the club with the young players and certainly going forward the future looks good. We knew we had to change things and turn it around and that is what we are now doing,” he added.
With the regeneration of the team, Black is not setting unrealistic goals but he does believe that they will be competitive in the league.
“This year we would still like to think that we will be competitive in the league and our goal is to hold our own. The target is mid-table and I would be very happy with a mid-table finish and if we can do that while bringing young players on along the way then that will be great,” he commented.
Indeed, the experienced coach feels that if they can get a full strength side on the park on a weekly basis then they are more than capable of mixing it with the best in the league.
“If we can get out at full strength then we will still be a hard team to beat. I’m confident with what there is there that we can challenge any team in the league but whether we can do that on a consistent,week in week out basis with injuries and whatever else is another thing,” said Black.
A new Head Coach will bring a new voice and new ideas and Black says that he is looking forward to working alongside Taukiri after he arrives. “I’ve been speaking to him a few times, he is looking forward to it and he already knows a bit about the club. He has played against a few provinces with his former club, Skibbereen, so he has a good knowledge of the rugby set up in this part of the world and that is going to help and he’s looking forward to the challenge.”
So, who does Black think are going to be the main challengers for the title this season?
“I would say that Ballyclare are going to be strong and will be big challengers while you would also have to look at the likes of Instonians as well,” he said.
Clogher begin their campaign with a home game against Cooke on Saturday and Black says that the focus is on making a positive start to the season. It is a complete new journey.
“All focus for us at the minute is on Cooke, that’s the big one for us. It is a home fixture, first game of the season and you really want to be opening with a performance and you want to get a result to complement the performance,” he concluded.