Anton Dummigan says winning a major trophy with Goodyear would more than make up for the sacrifice of quitting playing.
Dummigan swapped his boots for the dugout at the start of last season following the departure of former boss James McConville.
On the eve of the 2020/21 season, and with no manager in place, Dummigan stepped into the breach and has been there ever since.
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Goodyear are in pole position to win Division Two of the Mid Ulster League this season, with Saturday’s 3-0 win over title rivals Ballyvea sending the Alenhill Park outfit three points clear at the top.
Dummigan told Match on Tuesday: “I got the job by chance. We lost our previous manager James McConville, who is taking our second team now. He stepped away and said it was time for something fresh.
“As a committee there was nobody stepping forward, and I said I would come in and tie things over. I was playing for the first team at the time and I had no plans to get into coaching or managing, so it was sort of forced on me.
Goodyear maanager Anton Dummigan
(Image: Tony Hendron)
“I would love to get back playing, but here I am and my full focus is on winning the league this season.
“I have sacrificed my playing career to manage the team. I did play in one friendly and cost the team one or two goals, so that was a lesson for me.
“Fair play to anyone who can play and manage. It is a tough gig. I think it is best to stand on the sideline and focus on managing.
“It was a huge sacrifice giving up playing, and also training. I loved both. But if I can go and win something as manager then it will be well worth the sacrifice. Fingers crossed anyway.”
Dummigan has been with Goodyear for over a decade, the club’s DNA courses through his veins.
He says he can appreciate what a league title would mean to the club if they can get over the line this season.
“I have been with Goodyear for 10-11 years. Over the years it has always been the same group of lads across the first and second teams,” he added.
“There is a core there and there is great camaraderie. We have real friendships here and everyone wants to do well for the team.
“It has been a long time since we won any silverware, so it would be nice to win something this season. The club deserves it.
“We reached the last-16 of the Junior Cup this season for the first time, so progress is being made. We have to keep that going and keep the lads hungry.”
He added: “Since I came in last season the focus has always been to go and win the league. Not promotion, but winning the league.
“There are no half measures about it. And that’s the approach I take. If you are going to do something, do it right and aim high.
“It is drilled into the boys every week, you have to get results to win leagues.
“Last season when it was cut short due to Covid we were sitting top, and we are sitting top now. But we have to push on and try and finish the job.”
Goals from Aaron Magee and Eoghan McCormick (2) sealed a big top-of-the-table win for Goodyear on Saturday.
But despite denting their title rival’s ambitions, Dummigan says the race for the championship remains wide open with other teams holding games in hand.
“It is just another game chalked off. We don’t get too carried away with ourselves,” Dummigan said.
“We have six league games left and they are six cup finals. And even then there are no guarantees.
“There are teams like Ballyvea, Scarva, Armagh Blues who have games in hand. We have chalked off another game and we just focus on the next one now.
“We don’t hand out too many pats on the back when we win. We keep our feet on the ground.
“We are where we want to be at this stage of the season. It is a good position to be in, and having the points on the board is a positive.”
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