McCullough steps down as boss of relegated UUJ

Shane McCullough has quit as UUJ boss. INNT 41-145-GR
Shane McCullough has quit as UUJ boss. INNT 41-145-GR

Shane McCullough(inset) has resigned as manager of UUJ after the club finished bottom of the Amateur League Division 1a.

UUJ ended the campaign with three straight defeats, although three wins on the bounce just before that had put them in with a fighting chance.

“We gave ourselves a chance, but the damage was done earlier in the season, starting with six straight league defeats,” admitted McCullough. “At the end, we played Downpatrick who were still looking for the points to win the league.

“Then there was that other bad run, losing to Barn, Rosario and Dundonald and only drawing with Orangefield. They were four games we could have won and could have taken nine or 10 points from but instead we only got one and it cost us.

“Every week we weren’t able to field the same team and the big problem was the lack of commitment to training. You’re trying to work on set-pieces etc, and not getting the numbers, it’s impossible.”

McCullough, the man who nurtured the blossoming careers of the likes of Johnny Evans and Darron Gibson at Under-16 level, had taken over the reins at UUJ in September, following the resignation of Stevie McIvor.

He added: “The club have got some big decisions to make. Some of the players are talking about hanging their boots up; I don’t think they fancy the thought of going down to 1b. The next appointment will be a big one.

“Also I think they need to make moves to get back to playing at Jordanstown. We’re grateful to Nortel for the use of their pitch, but it’s not home.

“It would have been nice to have left them in the same division – but from now on, it will be golf for me on a Saturday – no more football!”

n Nortel brought their season to a close with this 2-2 draw away to Immaculata FC at Ashley Park.

“We went there with an understrength side, but the players we brought in did brilliantly.

Immaculata were two goals to the good inside 33 minutes but Terry Kirkpatrick pulled one back with a deflected effort before Timmy Clarke set up Dale Fenner to head in the equaliser.

Teenager Cowan preserved a point, with a top-drawer save 10 minutes from time.