By Niall Gartland
AIDEN Gilroy was involved in both the club and county scene in Fermanagh last year – but he’s taking on a different challenge entirely in 2022 at Urney.
The Ederney native successfully steered Derrylin to a Covid-delayed Fermanagh Junior Championship triumph while also taking care of the county’s u-17 team.
This year, however, his sole focus will be on Urney, a club who have had some difficult seasons of late but can at least reflect on a reasonably positive 2021 where they held their own in Division Three and were beaten in the semi-finals of the championship by Eskra.
Gilroy will touch base with the players in the coming days and hopes they will share in his aspirations of climbing back up the ladder in Tyrone.
Gilroy said: “I’m definitely excited about the challenge and I’m hoping to meet the players this weekend. Hopefully I’ll get a sense for what they want, and I’ll also show them what I’ll be expecting. I can wait to get started but I recognise it’s all a bit up in the air at the minute about when the leagues will kick in.”
It wasn’t long ago that Urney were playing in the top flight in Tyrone, but back-to-back relegations were a significant blow to the club. Numbers aren’t great in the club, but they have enough talent in the squad to potentially push for a promotion place.
Gilroy said: “I think that’s it, but there’s a lot of men in the army and things like that. They’d a decent enough league last year. Eskra and Cookstown were the two teams that got promoted but they weren’t far away.
“Maybe myself coming in will help push the thing on, we’re definitely not going there to have a half-hearted attempt at the championship. We’re there to improve the club and move it on to the next level. If they players want the same thing, then that’s all we need and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Gilroy is bringing with him his Ederney clubmate Enda Ferris. They’re well used to working alongside each other at this stage.
“Enda trained with me last year when we were over Derrylin and the Fermanagh minors. He was a fine footballer in his time but he’s taken to the sidelines after Edeney won the championship in 2020, I think that was it for him and now he’s cutting his teeth in the world of management.”
Ederney isn’t far from the Tyrone border, so he’s familiar enough with Division Three clubs like Fintona and Drumquin, while Clady is about a half an hour drive from his home village. He acknowledges he may still need some local help to get by.
“It shouldn’t be too bad, it’ll be a learning curve but I know the likes of Fintona and Drumquin. We’ll have men in with us to keep us right about the ins and outs of things, they’ll know plenty about the Tyrone scene.”