Throughout their existence, Killyclooney have been living in the shadow of Donemana, less than two miles down the road, but still famous as the club where Ireland’s longest-serving captain William Porterfield started his career.

But this year they are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame as NW Premiership leaders, four games into the 14-match season.

Captain Timmy Dougherty, a self-employed electrical contractor during the week, admits they were not even targeting a top eight finish at the start of the season, the requirement to be in the top flight next term.

“We are probably a Senior Two team but after the start we have had (three wins), everybody realises we can compete at Premiership level so we are probably going for it now,” he asserts.

The match-winner in all three league victories has been new professional Blayde Capell, a 26-year-old South African who is the season’s leading run-scorer.

“He’s certainly a big help with the bat and he has been more than we expected, to be honest,” explains Dougherty. “He was in England for one year at 19, but the standard wasn’t the same so he didn’t go back.

“But he’s happy here and says it’s a competitive standard — although he doesn’t make it look competitive. He had a seven-ball duck last week, but after 805 runs from nine or 10 games, you are due an off game.”

Capell has still to ‘fail’ in the Premiership because last week’s match was a big defeat by Bready — they scored 336 — in the Sam Jeffrey Shield, a game Dougherty describes as an “eye-opener”.

He adds: “It’s probably a good thing in hindsight because it gave everyone a kick up the backside ahead of this weekend’s fixtures. We need to get back into the winning rhythm because when you are winning, you just rock up expecting it to continue.”

First up tomorrow is a trip to Eglinton, who have won just one of their first four league games, followed by the National Cup quarter-final in Belfast against Cliftonville Academy, a contest Dougherty rates “our biggest game of the season”.

He says: “Eglinton are one of those teams you will always be trying to beat, especially this year, but it won’t be an easy game so hopefully we can win but we are looking forward to going up to Belfast and that will be a good test for us.”

Dougherty is keen to point out that while while Killyclooney are confident of chasing down any total when Capell comes off, the bowlers are also stepping up to the mark this season and he has one surprise addition.

“Kenzie Hall has been keeping for the last three years but after our first match, in a spur of the moment, I asked him he fancied bowling spin,” he reveals. “As Blayde is the keeper, we have mixed it up. Kenzie was awkward to hit in the nets so we gave him match practice to see how it went and he hasn’t looked back.”