Newly-apponted Glentoran Under 20s Manager, David Lowry.
Following the recent departure of Glentoran Under 20 Squad Manager Mark Clougherty and Coach John Savage to take up positions with Donegal Celtic, the club has promoted from within our outstanding Academy as their replacements.
Academy Director, David Lowry has been appointed to the role of Manager of the U20s. He will be supported by Gary McAlister who will become U20s Head Coach. We are pleased that Iain Dickson and Jason Cummings will remain in their current coaching roles.
Michael McClelland has assumed the position of Manager of the U18 Squad where he was previously Gary McAlister’s Assistant.
David is the grandson of Glentoran legend Sammy Lowry and the son of Stephen Lowry who also managed various youth sides and the reserve team at Glentoran during a decade of service and remains at the club in a scouting capacity. David’s older brother Stephen is the Junior Academy Manager at Glentoran while their Uncle Glenn has recently stepped down as an Academy coach to take up a scouting role.
In David’s time at the club to date he has worked with our very successful 2000 age group who won three Northern Ireland Boy’s FA Cups in succession with 7 of the players making the NI Victory Shield squad and 4 moving full time to clubs in England. Three of the 2000 group – Paul O’Neill, Caolan Boydmunce and Ethan Warnock - have already made first team debuts for Glentoran.
Glentoran.com chatted with David about the changes to the coaching structure:
“I am excited and extremely proud to have this opportunity to work with the next generation of players at Glentoran. I know a lot of the young lads very well from my role as Academy Manager and from previously managing the 2000 age group. The 2000 and 2001 born players are now up and around the fringes of the u20 with Paul O’Neill having already made the breakthrough into first team football so it will be very easy for me to step into the role and start working with players I know so well.”
“Iain Dickson has spent the last three seasons with the under 16s doing a terrific job and as a result he also has first-hand experience of working with this crop of players before. Also with Gary McAlister moving up to his new Head Coach role from the under 18s it will be a smooth transition for the players as they already know what is expected from them.”
“When Gary Haveron informed me that Mark had moved on and asked me to take charge of the team I didn’t hesitate as I know the quality that exists within the Academy and am keen to do whatever I can to try and help further develop that potential into first team reality. I immediately spoke with Gary McAlister because I know what a driven and enthusiastic coach he is and, for a younger coach, he is already very experienced and has a great relationship with the players. Gary is just off the back of a successful SuperCup NI where he was a coach with the Premier side that included 6 Glentoran players who will all come into the reckoning for the 20s so it just made sense to get him involved in the set-up”
When asked about the quality of the u20 squad and his expectations for the season David was very clear that patience is the name of the game: “We have some outstanding young players at the club and I have very high hopes for them going forward but they are all still very young. On Saturday at Warrenpoint for our first game the oldest player on the park for us was 18 with the average age of the squad being 16.7 years. I would wager that is one of the youngest ever reserve/ U20 teams to represent Glentoran and we came up against a Warrenpoint side fielding their full quota of five over 20s”.
“But I think that is the way forward for us – our first team squad is one of the youngest in the league so it suits for us to have a slightly younger U20 panel and give them time to develop at that level. We want to try and make sure as much as possible that when the young lads are given a chance to step up that they are ready to compete. The best way to help them do that is to get them on the pitch against experienced players and let them develop. We won’t always win games but the players will be progressing each week.”
“As the players get that bit older we can look to loan them out to further their development with the ultimate aim of keeping the player pathway flowing well from the under 16s to the 18s and the 20s and that all the talented young players coming through the Academy can see a genuine pathway to the first team should they deserve it”
“One thing is for sure, Glentoran supporters can be assured that the young lads coming through will be well aware of what it means to play for our great club and have a pride in wearing our famous colours. Coming myself from a real Glentoran family it is always something that I have stressed to the players I have coached at the Academy and we will continue to make sure the boys appreciate the opportunity they have and give everything for the cause”
Our Academy does a wonderful job in progressing young players but it is important to remember that opportunities exist for our volunteers and coaching staff too. The club is delighted to have filled these vacant roles from within our Academy.