THE NEW manager of the Sligo minor team, Glenn Young, has said he's looking forward to the challenge of trying to end the county's miserable record at under-age level.
Sligo haven't won a Connacht minor title since 1968 but Young believes the potential is there to end the barren spell.
The former county goalkeeper, who will be supported by a powerpacked back up team, including All Star, Eamonn O'Hara, Joe Murphy, Keith Carty and goalkeeping coach, Enda McLoughlin, has pledged to leave no stone unturned in his efforts to transform the county's fortunes at minor level.
He's getting straight down to business with a series of trial games and weight and conditioning sessions over the next few weeks and plans to have a working panel of about 35 players in place after Christmas.
"The aim is to make sure that nobody slips through the net", he explained.
"Players who've come through the development squads will obviously be on the radar but we wan't to have a look at other lads as well, players who have improved in the various under-age grades but might not have come to the attention of the county up to now. The objective is to get the best young footballers in the county involved with the minor squad"
Young has vast experience at senior management level, having worked with St. Mary's and Shamrock Gaels in Sligo, and Glencar/Manorhamilton in Leitrim, but this is his first serious job at under-age level in the GAA.
He was, however, heavily involved in the youth development structure at Sligo Rovers under Willie McStay in the mid 1990s, and also won medals at all under-age grades with St. Mary's during his GAA playing career.
"I know what it takes to work with and encourage young footballers", he insisted.
"There are a lot of things to be factored in at this level. There are heavy demands on young players with football commitments at Colleges, club and county level. And they have academic considerations as well with the Leaving Cert. So it's a difficult balancing act to put everything in context. We'll be meeting with parents and the players over the next few weeks and we'll put together something everybody can buy into.
"There's so much good work going on at Schools and clubs at under-age level in the county. There are great people working on the ground and if we're all pulling in the same direction we can make progress"
Many exciting minor teams and many excellent managers have tried and failed to end the county's agonsing wait for the big breakthrough. So can Sligo realistically hope to change the trend in 2013?
"We have to believe that we can", said Young.
"Tipperary and Roscommon have won All Ireland minor titles in the last few years so why can't Sligo make progress?. Everybody knows we have a poor record at minor level and there are no easy answers as to why that is the case. I'm a firm believer in putting in the hard work and getting everybody to buy into that ethic.
"In last year's Championship, Sligo didn't play in the first half against Mayo but still only lost narrowly. There's a very thin line between success and failure. Sligo are never that far away but we've just got to find that bit extra which will make all the difference. I firmly believe we can do that", Young added.
The new manager intends to develop the team during the course of the Connacht Minor League with everything geared towards the Minor Championship clash with Roscommon on June 23rd.
"The players will have a hectic schedule in the build-up to the Championship with Colleges and the county. So we've got to manage that and make sure that we're in the best possible shape for the Championship. June 23rd seems a long way away now but we've got a lot of work to do and I just can't wait to get started", he said.