Name: Islandmagee FC
League: NAFL Premier Division
Ground: Wilbourne Park
Colours: Red and Blue
Player/Manager: Michael Moore
Captain: David Harrison
In the latest of our Intermediate Club Profiles we return to the Northern Amateur Football League, and to County Antrim side, Islandmagee. Now under the stewardship of long-serving striker Michael Moore, the Islanders are in their second season back in the top flight, following promotion from 1A alongside Ballynahinch Olympic in 2018.
“Last season we probably overachieved in many ways, after getting promoted the year before”. Moore commented. “But in another sense, we probably should have finished a bit higher! We suffered a few defeats late in the season which could have been avoided”
The Wilbourne side had been relegated from the Premier Division back in 2016 at the end of a season which saw them concede almost 100 goals in the division. That season was one to forget for the club, going through three managers. Davy Rollo began the season in the hot seat, but a poor run of form led to the appointment of Mark Duff.
However, Duff lasted less than five weeks before being replaced by Stevie King, but while he stabilised things he could not save the club from relegation. The following season saw the club regroup and finish in mid-table in the new division, and then with the arrival of Robert McKee as manager from Larne Olympic the club pushed on and secured promotion along with Ballynahinch.
Last season McKee oversaw an excellent season, ending with a sixth-place finish in their return to the top flight. Come the summer, McKee decided to move on and the reins were taken by long-serving frontman, Moore.
“There was a lot of change over the summer with our manager and a few players leaving. My idea was to stabilise the club and try to bring through a few younger players who will be the future of the club. I believe we have a couple of younger players, in Nathan Henry and Andrew Paisley in particular, who have very bright futures ahead of them. Apart from their ability, they are willing to listen and learn, which is half the battle.”
34-year-old Moore has retained an active playing role this season, alongside a talented set of forwards including Daryll Kernoghan and Elliot English. With support on the sidelines from the likes of Alan Brennan and Neil McKnight, Moore has no intentions of hanging the boots up just yet.
“I’ve always wanted to manage the club, but it’s fair to say I just didn’t expect it this early. I enjoy it to a certain degree, it’s an honour for me as well but I still feel like I have a few years left in the legs yet playing wise and would be happy if an experienced manager wanted the position to let them take the reins and I can concentrate on playing!”