The last few seasons have seen Donemana drop from their usual high standards but they got the new year off to a strong start with a 106-run win at Bonds Glen. It was a tale of skippers past and present for the Holm side with William McClintock top scoring with 82 and new captain Dwayne McGerrigle clubbing five sixes in a breezy 38. What had persuaded the former Irish international to take on the skipper’s role once again?

“It’s been a tough few years for the club and I felt we weren’t doing ourselves justice for a variety of reasons,” said McGerrigle. “I found it tough playing with the seconds watching the seniors struggling. I kept getting asked why I wasn’t playing for the firsts and talking with my wife, she thought I could certainly give it another year or two.

“I thought William did a good enough job so it’s no reflection on him, but there were problems with player availability and getting messed about with professionals. I felt I could give it a go and help the team and the club a bit more.

“There’s not much we can do about the problems of availability with work, but if we can build our squad depth up to 15 then that won’t be as much of an issue. The reserve players that come in being a bit stronger and able to make contributions will definitely help our cause.”

It’s been a tough close season for the club - tragedy striking on the eve of the campaign with the death of Ash Buchanan, so soon after the death of club legend Ivor Dougherty. Did Dwayne feel that would galvanise the squad, serving as a motivational factor this year?

“Absolutely. It’s been a terrible few months in the village with not only those two but there must have been five or six deaths. It’s given everyone perspective and made us realise just how precious life is and the fact we are only here once, so seize the day.”

An ultra-attacking batsman, will McGerrigle’s team play the brand of cricket that the club is renowned for throughout Ireland? “Having watched the club this past few years, we need to go back to basics. Taking your catches, cutting out extras, the fundamentals. Win a few games, build confidence, try and get the crowd back supporting us. Create a bit of buzz about the club. We’ve always had players who liked to play their shots and that philosophy won’t change. The 40 overs matches are a new dimension that I haven’t played too much of that will take me a bit of getting acclimatised to so that’s another factor. You have a bit of time but not as much as we’re used to normally. “

Their new professional Roy Kaia is due to arrive next week in time for the Senior Cup, and he will come into a squad that has a nice blend of youth and experience. ‘DJ and Levi Dougherty are in the team, and of course William McBrine and the McClintock twins are still young despite being part of the six in a row cup team. They all maybe had too much success too young so it’s been hard for them to taste defeat. It would be great for us all to get that winning mentality and hunger again.”

The club are resigned to being without Irish international Andy McBrine for most of the year. “I was chatting with Andy at the weekend and it looks as if he won’t be around too much but it will be a great boost when he is available. He has so much experience and quality and has been a great help to me.”

It’s been six years since their last Premiership title in 2017 –three fourth places, a fifth and a sixth. What would constitute a successful campaign for the 43 year-old? “Those league placings need to be put right. We’re not a club that’s used to finishing fourth. I’m not saying we are going to win it, but we are better than that. We just need to get a bit of consistency. We can beat any side on our day but need to have the right attitude against so-called lesser teams.”

You get the feeling with the steely McGerrigle in control, they won’t be too far away in the trophy hunt.