DERRY City Reserves star Adrian Delap has a busy football schedule at the moment, but that’s just the way he likes it.
The 18-year-old joined Derry at the start of 2016, after excelling for Letterkenny Rovers’ youth team.
He has been making steady progress, and as well as starring for the club’s Under 19 and Ulster Senior League teams, he has also been linking up with Kenny Shiels’ senior squad.
A first year student at LYIT, it’s a hectic time for Delap, as he has exams on the horizon, but his main focus this weekend is on the Donegal News League Cup Final today (Sunday) at 2pm.
“Everything is going well,” said the Ray native.
“We got our first win in the Under 19 League down in Athlone last week.
“The Ulster Senior League team has also done ok. We’re not going to win the league, but we’re not near the bottom either.
“We have this Cup Final to look forward to as well, so it’s been a good enough season.”
Delap developed a fine reputation at youth level, as an exciting, creative prospect, and it was no surprise that Derry took an interest in his talents.
Along with Ramelton men – Connor Gormley and Shane McNamee – he travels into Derry a couple of times a week to train at St Columb’s College, and he is very happy with the football education he is receiving.
“This is my second year in and I’m enjoying it. The three of us usually go in together.
“It makes it easier when there’s people you know in there as well and it didn’t take us long to get settled.
“The set-up is very good. We’re training two times a week on the pitch, and we’re in the gym twice a week as well.
“I can’t see too many other teams in the country doing that, so it’s great.
“Derry have always produced quality players, and they have a very good player development path.
“I maybe took a gamble going into Derry when all my friends were going to other teams, but it’s working out ok so far.”
Derry are renowned for giving young players a chance, and Delap has been given a taste of what it’s like to be a senior player this season.
He didn’t make the bench on Tuesday night for Derry’s clash with Limerick, but was involved with the squad in the lead-up to the game, and is picking up valuable tips from full-time footballers.
“I’ve been on the bench a couple of times over the last couple of weeks and it’s been a very good experience.
“It’s great for my development especially at this age. You see the experienced players, and they’re always switched on.
“They know what to expect from certain games, and they know the players to watch out for.
“I’m fond of Kenny (Shiels). He’s a good man and a good manager.”
Delap says he enjoys playing in the Ulster Senior League and challenging himself against more physical players.
He played a key role in helping the Candystripes reach the Donegal News League Cup final, by downing Rovers in the semi-final.
“We were 2-0 down, but we came back. I scored one and won a penalty, and then I got injured.
“It was a good result for us, and we were delighted to get through to the final, and we’re all excited about Sunday now.
“We have no Under 19 game this week, so our full concentration is all on the final.”
Delap is under no illusions about the task that his side face this week against Cockhill, but he is looking forward to testing himself against the reigning champions.
“They’ve ruled the roost for the last four or five years. They’re a top, top team, and they have quality players.
“It will be a good experience for us to come up against them in a final.”