Football: Irish infusion good start for next season's campaign

By Ben Guild

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Belvedere Group Tauranga City United captain Sam O'Regan has been huge for the club this season. Photo / George Novak
Belvedere Group Tauranga City United captain Sam O'Regan has been huge for the club this season. Photo / George Novak

The players had not yet left the field following Sunday's promotion-clinching 3-0 win over Fencibles United AFC before Belvedere Group Tauranga City United coach Duncan Lowry began outlining his plans for next season's campaign.

His message was simple: The Northern Irish are coming.

A trip home for a family wedding in recent months denied Lowry a chance to be with his side for their ill-fated fourth round Chatham Cup tie, but Lowry is hoping the sacrifice will pay off in the form of a few quality transfers.

"I went overseas and made a few contacts and am hoping I've got three players coming next year," Lowry said.

"The Irish league is a good standard. It's where I came from and where I learned my bread and butter.

"I think it's slightly better than we have here, with better facilities."

Lowry said signing players from Ireland might prove preferable to those from England.

"I've always got kids who come here from England who want to go back to England and lose themselves."

Both Lowry and club officials are keen to get preparations for next season under way as soon as possible.

Northern League Division One teams are required to field a team in the reserve grade competition, meaning the club will have an extra senior side as officials are committed to keeping a team in Waibop's Federation One.

That could create beneficial economies of scale, but also doubles the number of players the club must transport to Auckland every second week as the reserve grade competition runs alongside Division One.

Securing the signatures of captain Sam O'Regan and key attacking weapon Jerahl Hughes would be huge in terms of creating continuity, with Lowry adamant the club must take advantage of the opportunity its created.

"I'm hoping I've awakened a giant because football-wise this city should be huge. We need to have a chat with the committee and get more sponsors involved because we are stepping up to another level."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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