A simple conversation with the St Mary’s committee about fixtures hit home to Conor Hagan the career contrast he is now facing.
The versatile midfielder can highlight Portadown, Glenavon and Linfield on his list of former clubs but is now facing up to a first season in the Mid-Ulster Football League as player/manager with St Mary’s.
By his own admission, there has been a period of adjustment since Hagan’s appointment in the summer.
“Some of the guys were talking about games and mentioned an Irish Cup fixture in August,” said Hagan. “Previously, my first taste of the Irish Cup each season always came in January.
“However, I am looking forward to the challenge and have been made to feel really welcome since coming into the club.
“I did my coaching badges as a young player in England with Wolves so this is always an area of the game I have had an interest in developing.
“I had offers from Danske Bank Premiership and Championship clubs to stay in the Irish League once my contract was up at Lurgan Celtic.
“However, after talking to the guys at St Mary’s I was sold and it is a very professional club.
“I have done a bit of research about Mid-Ulster football and talked to people I know with an insight.
“John Feeney is a friend I have brought in from Gilford Crusaders and Kevin Murphy will come up into the first-team coaching staff from the reserves, so there is plenty of Mid-Ulster experience around the club.
“I will play as much as possible and can combine what I see from the pitch with what the guys are spotting on the sidelines.
“I have a young family now and am living in Lurgan so it is the right time.
“I will use my own ideas along with stuff I have picked up from managers like Ronnie McFall, David Jeffrey, Paul Kirk and Gary Hamilton.
“The lads have been working hard over pre-season and we have added six or seven players so cannot wait to get started.”