Life has moved fast already for Shane McNamee at Derry City.
Even the thought of possible involvement in an FAI Cup quarter-final and an EA Sports Cup final were distant dreams only a couple of months ago.
But that is now reality for the Ramelton teenager, who last week signed a new three-year contract at the Candystripes.
“I only started going in regularly to train with the seniors at the start of the summer so I’ve definitely broken in quicker than I thought,” McNamee says.
“I feel like I’m holding my own. It’s a lot tougher and a lot faster, but I can feel myself getting better.
“I’ve improved a lot since I started going in. When things are going so fast in training, I can only improve.”
Derry host Bohs at the Brandywell tomorrow evening in the last of the FAI Cup quarter-finals before they also welcome Cobh Ramblers to Foyleside for Sunday’s EA Sports Cup decider.
McNamee featured in the 12-2 win over Blarney United in the FAI Cup, when he scored his first two senior goals, and he was also a late replacement in the last round, a dramatic 1-0 win over St Pat’s – when Aidy Delap netted the only goal of the game.
McNamee says: “I want to keep improving and get more time on the pitch with the first team. It’s great having the reserves in the Ulster Senior League because everyone gets a game. There’s game time for everyone and players get a chance.”
His debut for the senior team arrived when Kenny Shiels beckoned him from the dugout in a 2-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers in June.
In Cork, McNamee scored twice in the rout over Blarney. Derry shipped some flak for running up such a tally, but McNamee was just delighted to yet off the mark.
he says: “I was delighted to get the goals. It wasn’t the hardest of games, but it was still nice to get the goals for the senior team.”
Delap, who hails from Ray, was also given a new three-year deal last week and these are the latest youngsters to break into the senior team.
McNamee says: “It’s a lot faster and a big jump from Under-19s. It was tough at the start.
“Under-19s is more technical players. In the Ulster Senior League, players are a lot stronger and that prepares us well for the step up.
“Kenny has a lot of faith in young players. He does put players in. I think, personally, it’s better to get in now. He has no trouble putting young payers in at all.”
His older siblings have both played in the League of Ireland. Barry is a regular for reigning champions Cork City while Tony helped Finn Harps to win promotion in 2015.
The youngest of the brothers adds: “I don’t put pressure on myself. If people want to compare us, fair enough. I’m a different player.”Tags: