ST JOHNSTON

  • Skipper-Michael Rankin
  • Overseas player- None confirmed
  • Ins- Kevin Martin, David Anthony
  • Outs- None

After a few seasons of consolidation there is little doubt that an air of optimism has started forming again at the Boathole.

The reason for the surge of positivity is that the club feels that their block of young talent could soon be making their mark at senior level.

To be fair to the Saints they have persevered with a development strategy and availed of the likes of Kevin Martin and Bobby Rao to help with the build over the last few years.

They have also carried out some radical groundwork at their home and things certainly appear from the outside at least, to be on the up.

Changes in personnel are minimal again with Martin returning to the Donegal club this season in a player/coach role after a spell back at Ardmore. He's a very useful player at this level and a quality coach too so he looks a good fit at this time.

David Anthony is making the same journey after a season at the Bleachgreen and he won't weaken the side any either. The interesting thing will be to see how the youngsters have progressed in the past 12 months and how many of the next line are ready to make the step up.

The new skipper is certainly expecting some improvement as he added- "After a few seasons spent re-grouping we will be looking to push on this year and challenge at the right end of the table.

"We will be a fairly youthful side with the odd 'old head' providing the tactical nous required for the blend of youth and experience."

The reality is that the Saints are one club who really do have the ability to get better over the next few years. More to the point however they know it is a much longer term plan for them to push for promotion and be able to consistently compete at a higher level.

They will have their moments in 2019- they always do- but it might be a year or two yet before they're fully ready to flex their muscle.