OMAGH Futsal Club celebrated its second birthday on Monday and they are hoping to acknowledge that milestone with success on the pitch when the Northern Ireland League gets underway on Sunday when they travel to two-time champions, Belfast United.
Their opening fixture isn’t the kindest as United finished second last term, but along with Omagh’s second scheduled home match against reigning champions Belfast Sparta, they will know exactly where they stand early on this term.
“That will show us where we are!,” exclaimed club founder, Martin Cassidy. “But we’re quietly confident because we feel we have a lot to prove. We should be able to compete. We’re hopeful.”
Last year, the feldgling club’s first in the league, started well, with Alexis Cabral banging in goals for fun as Omagh looked on course for a top three finish.
However, once their Portuguese top scorer departed for eventual champions Sparta midway through the campaign, Omagh’s season somewhat petered out and they finished fifth overall.
Much more is expected this time around, however, especially with Cabral’s return to Omagh Leisure Complex, alongside former Coleraine FC player Hugo Baptista and ex-Beragh Swifts pair Michael Brown and Robert McGrew.
With much more strength in depth in their squad this year,Cassidy is quietly confident about what lies ahead, especially after an intensive summer of preparation.
“We’ve been working hard and taking no breaks,” he explained. “We continued training under David Alonso over the summer and he’s now the coach of Ballinamallard under-18s, so we’ve been able to bring a couple of younger legs in!
“I think the league will be a lot closer because there are no easy teams. It will be a more level playing field and we’re definitely aiming for good things this season.”
Omagh are in for a tougher schedule this season with an increased 10 team league leading to more fixtures.
And after a successful pre-season which included matches against two experienced Dublin sides and NI League newcomers, Afrimeripean, the local lads are anticipating plenty of excitement and are hoping for no shortage of achievements over the next eight or nine months.
Omagh Futsal Club squad: Alan Browne, Martin Cassidy, Stephen Drumm, Frank Flanagan, Tristan Hamilton, Jordan Newell, Lloyd Kinloch, Robert McGrew, Darryl McCullough, Michael Brown, Alexis Cabral, Oisin Miller, David Alonso, Ludovit Kuki, Luis Serrao, Patrick Gomes, Andrei Sabin, Hugo Baptista.