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The County Down SuperCupNI committee are delighted announce the appointment of Gary McAlister as Junior team manager for 2018.
Currently engaged as Head Coach of the Glentoran U20s, Gary moves into the Down Junior team manager’s role following three years on the coaching staff of our Premier team.
Gary brings a wealth of coaching experience to the role, despite his mere 25 years. While still in his late teens, Gary’s managerial career began at Crusaders, looking after one of their National League sides. After five years in the Seaview set-up, Gary moved across town to join Glentoran in 2016, first with the under 17s and latterly coaching the under 20s in the NIFL Development League.
On his appointment as the new Junior team manager, Gary remarked that the role had come at the right time for him: “I have enjoyed a great three years being involved with the county in a coaching capacity with the Premier side. Through this I have developed a feel of how the tournament runs and the level of what is expected from the players. Working alongside John [Bailie] and Pete [Houston] has definitely developed me as a coach and gave me the tools to take this role on. I feel the time is right to put all that experience to practice and feel massively privileged to be offered this role.
“Throughout the years I have gained a vast experience of youth football in Northern Ireland, working across different age groups at different levels. Along with my vastly experienced coaching team, we are looking forward to working with and developing our next generation of county players. Working within the premiers, I’ve seen many of the players come through from junior level, so I’m keen to instill a pride into our players that they feel honoured to represent their county and hope to push on and do so for the next two or three campaigns. “
Joining Gary in the Junior team camp will be his assistant manager John Savage, whom he has worked with both at Crusaders and Glentoran, along with coach Michael McClelland and goalkeeper coach Lewis Massey, who heads up the goalkeeper coaching at Glentoran Academy. Derriaghy physio Nigel Fell completes the Junior backroom team.
With trial details for this year’s teams due to be announced soon, Gary was keen to stress that there has never been a better opportunity to try out for County Down. “We want the process to be as open and inclusive as possible,” he stated. “With this in mind, we are moving back to running regional trials for our players, all controlled by regional trial coordinators. The process will include more trials and more opportunities for the individuals to show their capabilities, as well as our coaching team getting more opinions from more people in order to paint a better picture of our players. On top of this, myself and my staff have been going out to watch games so it’s a well-rounded process!”
This year’s SuperCupNI takes place between 22nd-27th July, meaning that in just a few short months another tournament will have passed. Gary will be hoping to add to his expanding bank of memories from his weeks spent on the north coast.
He says, “For the past three years I have had the privilege of working within the County set up, supporting John Bailie in his backroom team. Through this I have had the opportunity to work with some great players and look back fondly at some of the great moments we have had in previous tournaments, a particular highlight being the 2016 campaign where we finished 4th in the overall tournament with some great performances and results throughout the week.
“For me, my main aim as a coach is to educate, motivate and inspire young players to become the best they can be. We aim to create technically proficient footballers who can make effective and efficient decisions in game related situations with the aim of creating Game Intelligent Players. Throughout the process I hope to achieve this as well as bring success to County Down.”
The County Down Committee would like to thank our previous manager David Bryson and his staff for all their efforts and professionalism over their years in post.
County Down will continue their proud tradition of entering two teams in the world’s most prestigious youth football tournament, the SuperCupNI at the end of July. This year’s tournament takes place between Sunday 22nd – Friday 27th July 2018.
Teams will represent County Down in the following age groups:
Junior (2003) and Premier (2001)
Please note that we will not be entering a team in the new Minor (2005) competition.
Qualification for our team is by way of trials, which we will be organising soon. Please keep a check on our website, facebook and twitter sites.