Their start to the 2021/22 JD Cymru North term has gone somewhat under the radar, but Conwy Borough are flying high after five games, sitting third in the table at this stage behind Guilsfield and Buckley Town.
We caught up with one of the north’s most prolific marksmen, and Tangerines talisman, Corrig McGonigle, this week, to get his perspective on the club’s start to the year.
“We’re not afraid of anybody, most teams will be looking at us as a mid-table side, but we believe we’re capable of more than that and our start to the season has shown we can go away to difficult places, get results and change some perspectives on us along the way.
“I set myself personal goals that I try and achieve this year, and it is always nice to hit those targets but it is nice to be consistent as well. I’ve always been in and around the goals, that’s the nature of my position and my job, but it is nice to consistently to be able to contribute and keep improving year on year.”
“It may not feel like it right now as there are so many games to play, but if you can break away from the lower half of the table at this stage even slightly then you can get a good head start and build momentum.
“I’m confident we can surprise a few this year.”
Beating last season’s high-flyers, Colwyn Bay and Llanrhaeadr-Ym-Mochnant in their most recent fixtures, Prestatyn Town are the next opponents for Borough, signalling the start of a testing run of games against the likes of the Seasiders, Airbus, Llandudno and Guilsfield for Matthew Jones’ side.
Most of those sides have had recent JD Cymru Premier experience, or at the very least have squads littered with proven talent at the top domestic level in Wales, and McGonigle assesses what it would mean to the club to maintain its strong start in light of that and what it shows about the club’s potential.
“I think the top six of this league are very similar in standard to the bottom six of the Cymru Premier, so it is a great benchmark to show what you can do as a club if you can be in those positions. We’d like to go under the radar for as long as possible and continue this run of form we’re in at the moment.
“I don’t think many outfits expect Conwy to be up there this year, but we were sixth when the league was cut off last time, and I think any improvement on that would be a fantastic reflection of us, but I’m confident we can surprise a few this year.
“You never know, the Cymru Premier would be amazing for the club, stranger things have happened, but realistically I don’t think anybody would deny that doing that would be an overachievement, and our main focus is just going about our business quietly as we have been and seeing where it takes us.”
“I do have an ambition to go to the Cymru Premier.”
A proven goal-scorer and talent that has been well-known about in the north since his teenage years, 24-year-old McGonigle is only getting better and better, but one might wonder why such a consistent and proven goal-scorer at a very competitive level hasn’t made the step up to the Cymru Premier when interest has been shown in him. The powerful forward explains:
“I certainly do have an ambition to go to the Cymru Premier at some point in my career, definitely, and I have had a few proposals in the past to make that move, but it has never been the right fit for me and I don’t want to make the move too soon and maybe be set back a year or something in my development by not playing.
“I don’t want to not be in a position where I can make an impact and then have a perception of not being good enough for that standard, I want to play at that level when the situation is right for me to show what I can do, playing week in, week out.
“I’m quite happy working under the radar for now and building myself for that opportunity when the time does come.”
“Going into my third season at Cymru North level, I feel established.”
With three goals in five games so far, McGonigle has started the season in typically hot shooting form, and he’s looking forward to competing with one of Cymru Football’s all-time greats for the Golden Boot this year.
As such an established player at his relatively young age, though, what he is also excited about this year is mentoring and guiding the other young players making a name for themselves in the Borough squad.
“I’ve always known and set targets to improve my game in areas where it needs it, but it is great to have guys like Greg Draper coming to the league with his pedigree and track record to bring a focus to this level and push forwards like myself to want to do better and win that golden boot ahead of him.
“I think what I’ve been able to do over the six or seven years I’ve played men’s football warrants me considering myself as an experienced player by now, definitely. I’ve scored a lot of goals in my time and am going into my third season at Cymru North level, so I certainly feel established.
“I feel it is my responsibility now to help bring other young players through and share my experience with them, because I’m only 24 myself and it isn’t that long ago I was in their shoes, so if I can help them push on, be comfortable and show what they can do.”
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