History

                                

It was the year 1977 when the late Billy Allen put the foundations of the current club in place through his association with Comber Methodist Church. After organising a series of friendly fixtures a resolution was made in 1978 to move into the competitive arena and it was at the time of this decision that Comber Methodist Church Youth Club was formed.

 

The new team took up membership of the 5th Division of the Irish Churches League and immediately demonstrated an ability to gel into a side which could string together an impressive catalogue of victories.

 

The successes achieved in their first competitive season were clearly underlined when the side won promotion to the 4th Division at the first time of asking.

 

In the 1979-80 season the club continue to tread the paths of success and when they finished divisional runners-up in the McCallum Shield, promotion was assured for the second successive season. This time success was achieved with the stunning record of having lost only a single point in the process.

 

Individual accomplishments that season helped to consolidate the club’s standing with Colin McGiffert, David Allen and Neville Kerr being selected to represent the Churches League in a glamour fixture with the Old Boys League.

 

1980-81 brought an amazing continuation of the club’s promotion trail as the team once again moved up a division.

 

Division Two, however was a highly competitive section and although the team did reach the quarter-final stage of both the Diamond Cup and the Scarlett Cup, they found league points harder to come by.

 

Representative honours still flowed into the club with Colin McGiffert and Neville Kerr both gaining selection on two separate occasions.

 

In this period David Allen, Norman Mawhinney, Billy Allen, John Marshall and Michael Craig also brought honour to the club by being picked to represent the Churches League Select side.

 

Although the team continued to hold on to membership of the Churches League, a decision was taken to adopt a name change and the term Comber Young Men was used for the first time.

 

With the inevitable change of playing personnel which every club has to face up to from time to time and with the changes beginning to start a run of unwelcome results, the management of Comber YM opted to leave the Churches League and seek membership of the locally based Down Area Association.

 

Original members John Martin and the Allen brothers Billy and David, quickly warmed to the new challenge and the appointment of Norman Irwin as trainer/coach proved to have a major positive effect on the club’s fortunes.

 

Players like James Chambers, Ley Irwin, Jim Wilson, Derek Brown, Alan Wilson, George Hamilton, Robert Dornan, Eddie Roberts, Frankie McKenna, Kevin Anderson and Bert Cash all contributed to the injection of a new sense of purpose into the club and the team once more found themselves on the winners podium.

 

The McCaw Shield offered the Club their first taste of Down Area victory in the 1982-83 season, with the path to the final being a long and arduous one.

 

The initial stages of the completion at that particular time was played in league sections and the team topped their divison only after having to contest a play-off with Bangor Swifts.

 

Bangor Rangers were beaten in the quarter-final barrier with another Bangor outfit, Castle United, sent packing after a game which carried Comber YM to their first Down Area final.

 

In that game Comber YM faced up to the much-fancied Roadhouse Royals side on New Year’s Day, but in a titanic struggle it was the Comber boys who came out of the right side of a 3-0 scorecard. The goalscorers being John Marshall (2) and Frankie McKenna. Presenting the trophy on that day was the well-respected current DAWFL Referee’s Convenor Jimmy Fegan.

 

The Club had formed a reserve side by this stage and within a few seasons the seconds had made their own mark on the Down Area roll of achievement.

 

It was the 1992-93 season that the seconds finished off a truly amazing sequence of results to end up in the McCaw Shield Final.

 

Portavogie Rangers had won their passage through to the big game on the other side of the draw, but when the Down Area Council ruled that the affair had to take place under the Castlereagh Park floodlights as a midweek fixture, the Peninsula side withdrew.

 

While the seconds were denied their big night under the lights, the fact they were awarded the Shield gave Comber YM the distinction of becoming the first – and only – club to field a reserve side which claimed the McCaw Shield.

 

The late 1990s and 2000s  brought mixed emotions for the Club, with them finishing runners up in Division 2B (1999-00), the Reserve Team Cup (2000-01), Division 1 (2001-02), the Sittlington Cup (2003-04) and the Supplementary Cup (2005-06), however winning Division 1 in the 2004-05 season.

 

There were also a number of relegations along the way as well, with Dennis S. Nash writing in the Club’s 30th season

 

‘In their anniversary season, both teams connected to the club had to taste the bitter pill of relegation in the Down Area Association. The senior side tumbled from the Premiership, while the reserve string dropped out of Division 2A into 2B’

 

Reading through the History books, momentous anniversary seasons proved to be a damp event for the Club, with then Manager Mark Kirkpatrick noting at the 25th Anniversary event in Roma’s Bar in Newtownards that ‘he was disappointed with the results in the Down Area League and he wanted to do better the next season’.

 

This was to change however in the Club’s 35th Anniversary season, when almost 100 members at Scrabo Golf Club celebrated the 2nd XI lifting the Division 2B title under Mark Spence, recording only one League defeat along the way.  Their record that season was Played 22, Won 18, Drew 3, Lost 1 with a Goal Difference of +37.

 

Further silverware was to come the Clubs way in the 2012-13 season, with Andrew Miller and James Chambers 1st XI lifting the Frank Moore Cup in an entertaining final on the 1st May against Bangor Young Men 3rds at Parkway, Comber.  The score that day was 2-0, with Gary Eachus and Jordan Finney scoring the goals.

 

Behind the scenes Comber Young Men have also demonstrated their standing in the local game, with members Ian Frazer (Chairman 2011 - date) and Andrew Rodgers (Secretary 2012 – date) being elected as post-holders within the Down Area Winter Football League.  

Ian’s standing in the local game has been further recognised with him being awarded the Ards Borough Council Sports Administrator of the Year award in 2013 and also nominated into the Dennis S. Nash Unsung Heroes roll of honour, the latter something also achieved by Andrew Miller and James Chambers Jnr.