TOMORROW, we welcome the players, management, supporters and directors of Loughgall Football Club to Inver Park for what is sure to be a full-blooded encounter, especially with a top six place on offer to our visitors.
It really is an exciting finale to the pre-split round of fixtures for NIFL, with Ballinamallard and Ballyclare facing off alongside us, both with a chance also of securing the much coveted sixth berth for the business end of the season.
We won’t get caught up in this however, we have our own job to do, and will focus on our primary objective of securing promotion to the Danske Bank Premiership, doing this as champions would be a bonus.
It seems like an eternity since our last game, the Irish Cup victory against Newry City. On the day, over the ninety plus minutes we richly deserved to progress, but in typical Larne style, we added to the theatre by making it difficult for ourselves in the closing stages. We toughed it out though, and got over the line.
There were lots of positives to take from the day; from the promising performance of Benny Igiehon, to the MOTM performance of new signing Lee Lynch, to the bumper crowd, these were all highlights on the day and finally being drawn out of the hat to face Crumlin Star at home in the next round, made for a pretty good day at the office all round.
Make no mistake, Crumlin Star are a top side, who will make progression very difficult for us. We will do our homework, however, and enter the game hopeful of proceeding to the quarter-final stages where there could be an opportunity yet, to set up the romantic all-Larne clash with Larne Tech Old Boys, dependant on their result also against a very good Strabane Athletic side.
Before moving on from the Crumlin Star game, there has been a lot of rumour and conjecture about kick off times etc, I would urge everyone to wait until you read it on the official Larne FC website or social media platforms before believing anything.
I appreciate that it is a big day for the town, with many people wanting to attend both games and I can assure you, we are trying to make it happen, but it takes time. I would like to thank Paul ‘Chew’ Trainor for working with us on this. At the time of writing I cannot confirm either way if we have been successful yet, so watch this space.
The rumour and conjecture mill have been in overdrive also of late in regards to transfers, again I would urge caution and don’t believe everything you hear or read. What I will say is, that yes, we are active in the market, whether it be for January or next season we are looking to strengthen. The manager does his work both quietly and diligently, so we will just have to wait and see what develops.
At this point however, I would like to welcome Dominic Tear (19) an attacking midfielder and Isaac Marriott (19) a defensive midfielder on loan until the end of the season from Huddersfield Town. The two boys are highly regarded academy players, who are looking forward to the experience being at Larne will afford them along their footballing journey, we wish them well.
Similarly I would like to wish both Matty Henry and Cillin Gilmour the very best as they join Knockbreda on loan until the end of the season. Both guys have worked hard in training and been unfortunate not to have featured more this season, this move gives them a great opportunity to continue their development with more minutes on the pitch between now and the season end. Good luck boys…
Before concluding, I work like to extend my congratulations to Liam Hassin on his selection for the upcoming Northern Ireland U18 games. Keep doing what you’re doing Liam and remember, hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. Go make us proud, you’re one of our own!
Finally, can I thank The Curran Court Hotel for their continued sponsorship of our pre-match preparations, Graham’s Pizza for our post-match food, our match sponsor Wilsons Catering, our match ball sponsor Q Club and our Man of the Match sponsor, Classic Drinks in conjunction with Vallformosa.