Name: Dromara Village FC
League: Northern Amateur League 1A
Colours: Black and White Stripes, Black Shorts, White Socks
Manager: Ciaran Brannigan
Captain: Ruari McCardle
In this latest installment of OTT’s Intermediate Profile, we return to the NAFL and to Dromara Village. We caught up with Committee member and Youth Co-ordinator Malcolm Hanna to discuss the reemergence of the County Down side.
Dromara Village were formed in 1976, initially playing in the Newcastle District league before successfully applying for the Amateur League in time for the 1986/87 season. These days they have three senior men’s teams, including one still taking part in the Newcastle & District league, one Ladies Team and twelve youth teams with over 120 players throughout the youth set up with teams from U15s down to U7s.
The Villagers are enjoying a productive season in Division 1A of the Amateur League, having secured what at one stage seemed an unlikely promotion from 1B. “Last season was a brilliant season for the club”, Hanna commented. “We got promoted from 1B to 1A after looking out of contention for promotion. We had a tough run-in, facing the eventual champions Grove United, along with promotion rivals 18th Newtownabbey & St Lukes. However, one defeat in the league from our last 10 games saw us get promotion in our last game of the season.“
This season the Villagers have dropped points on just four occasions, the most recent in their first fixture of the new decade against Malachians. The club are only halfway through their league campaign, however, with games in hand on every other club in the division, meaning that like last season, their fate is very much in their own hands.
“We currently sit in 4th position in 1A, and if you had offered us that at the start of the season, we would have took (sic) that. We were aiming for the top six but now we are in this position we would love another promotion push but it will be very tough as the league is very competitive. One game at a time.“
It’s not so long since the club were competing with the big boys in the Premier Division of the NAFL, with the club an established presence in the top flight for many years. In 2013/14 though, they had a nightmare season, failing to register a league win as the club dropped into 1A. Two seasons later the trapdoor would open again as they now found themselves in 1B. With the club regrouping though, their continued progress has them back on track under manager Ciaran Brannigan, with a return to the top flight on the agenda at Bellsbridge.
“The long term plans for the club include getting back into the Premier League. We want to keep developing the club by getting our reserve side up the leagues, while also continuing to grow and develop our youth academy.“