TOMORROW, sees a return to league action, when we travel to Shamrock Park to face our closest Bluefin Sport Championship challengers, Portadown FC.
Like previous encounters against the Ports, we are going to have to work extremely hard, and be extremely professional if we are to take home the three points that we crave so much.
Matthew Tipton is doing a sterling job with the relatively young and inexperienced squad he is building. We know from experience last season that with youth and inexperience comes indifferent results. These are a great learning curve, but not ideal when you have an expectant fan base demanding success.
I take my hat off to Tippy for standing firm and riding out a few storms this season,. His boys are fighting for him and that same steel is what we need to match up to tomorrow.
Be loud, be proud, stay safe and as always, remember, you are our 12th man. Let the boys know you’re there!
February is a huge month for us, with further league games against the Duns and the Welders to come. The outcome of these three games could see us very close to achieving our dream of promotion to the Danske Bank Premiership.
These games coupled with the quarter final draw in the Tennent’s Irish Cup at home to Coleraine ensure that it is a great time to be a Larne fan. The message from within the camp is standard; one game at a time, nothing more, nothing less.
Taking a step back to last Saturday and the events that saw us into the hat for that quarter final draw, we came up against a tough, well drilled Crumlin Star team that was sprinkled with no shortage of talented players. We were made to fight for every ounce of territory and possession we won and were delighted to come out on the right side of things with the 3-1 win.
We were rocked early on and glad to see Jeff Hughes take us in level at half time. In the second half we had to be sensible and confident that if we kept probing, we would get there, and we did, thanks to a brace from Davy McDaid.
Davy showed massive commitment to the cause by missing his Grandmother’s funeral service to play in the game. The two goals were dedicated to his Granny and just reward for his professionalism. Top man as always Davy – Respect.
I would like to wish Crumlin Star all the best for the remainder of the season. You came to play and did yourselves proud on the park and acquitted yourselves with pride off it, in the lounge and boardroom. Well done boys.
Sadly, off the pitch there were a few incidents after the final whistle that could have turned ugly. Thankfully I and a few others were able to defuse these without escalation and we will not let them detract from what was an otherwise great day for both clubs. We learn from it and move on.
Unfortunately, I find myself preaching again, but for the greater good of the club, these things need to be highlighted.
The first may seem innocuous but it comes with a severe financial ramification to the club. Supporters encroaching the field of play is levied with a fine – end of story. It is not permitted and should not happen. I appreciate that sometimes emotions run high and get the better of you, but can I urge that you please stay outside the perimeter of the playing area. Players’ safety is paramount and we must keep this uppermost in our thoughts at all times.
The second is more serious and needs to be met head on.
We, as a club, are signed up to the UEFA Ten Point Plan and play the ‘Pete Snodden’ announcement prior to every game. Point two on this directive is around ‘condemning racist and sectarian chanting at matches’ which we do. Unfortunately, we let ourselves down last week and I, for one, do not wish to see or hear a repeat of it.
We had one, lone, sectarian chant that was heard clearly around the ground and we had a number of renditions of the ‘Buckfast’ song.
The second may be open to conjecture, as it does build into something different, unfortunately though the opening lines have a sectarian connotation and were recorded as such in the Match Observer’s report. These two incidents again come with hefty fines for the club and really take the gloss off a successful day for our club and our town. We don’t need them.
We are trying to build an all-encompassing, welcoming, football for all environment at Inver Park and need your support to keep doing this.
There are no divisions within football or within our club, we are ‘Red & White’ or ‘Purple & White’, if you cannot leave the orange and green at the gates on a Saturday for ninety minutes, then maybe Inver Park in 2019 is not the place for you.
Let’s keep pulling in the one direction.
On a happier note, it was great to see Thomas Stewart complete another game for the Under 20’s, bagging five goals in the process. That’s six goals in two games which augers well as we enter the business end of the season. He’ll surely be banging Tiernan’s door soon. Well done Thomas, its been a long road.
Before concluding, could I wish the best of luck to David Kernohan, Ross Green and Macauley Johnston from Larne Youth who head off to Scotland this weekend with their respective SBYL select teams, as they start their summer tour preparations. Have a good one boys.
Finally, congratulations to our neighbours Larne Tech Old Boys on their clinical destruction of Strabane Athletic in the Irish Cup. Best wishes in your last eight tie, whomever it may be against, you never know, you just never know!
Thanks for your continued support