TOMORROW, we make the long journey to Fermanagh to take on Irish Cup finalists Ballinamallard United in the last game of our Championship-winning campaign.
As I write this overlooking a sun-drenched Inver Park, the memory wanders to the many memorable occasions we have enjoyed this season, the ‘old romantic’ in me thinks of the many we have enjoyed down the years and the ‘dreamer’ in me is playing out games in my head from next season already. Well, it is that sort of journey we are on.
Back to reality and tomorrow we have work to take care of, in reversing the score of our last visit to Ferney Park in December, when we were humbled by a 2-0 defeat. I know the boys are keen to avenge this and will be pushing hard to finish the season on a high.
I know the fans will be on a high, heading in fancy dress and in party mode. I’m sure you will make a great day of it and hopefully you’ll travel back up the road buoyed by three points and a sterling performance.
I take nothing away from the ‘Mallards and in particular their uber professional manager Harry McConkey when I say this. Even with one eye on the cup final next week, his team will be well set up, well drilled and keen to impress, with maybe one or two starting positions still to be nailed down, we are guaranteed to meet a tough test at the Fernabeu.
On the final whistle we will embrace and wish Ballinamallard United the very best for the Irish Cup Final and beyond. In Harry and John Connolly, they have two highly respected ex-Inver Reds and in their skipper Richard Clarke they have one of the nicest guys I have ever met in Irish League circles, they all deserve their day in the sun and I hope they make the most of it.
On completion of the season, Tiernan now goes to work now on executing and delivering his vision for life in the Danske Bank Premiership and off the pitch Kenny, myself and the board set about delivering on groundworks, sponsorship, sales, marketing and improving the overall matchday experience at Inver Park.
Trust me, we are in for a busy summer.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who turned up last Saturday to welcome the players to Inver Park. It was a great sight seeing so many smiling faces and I think the forty minutes or so the players spent in and around the car park showed just how much your support has meant to them this season. As I keep saying, together everyone achieves more.
For those of a certain vintage like myself, it was great to see John Heggarty at the game courtesy of Good Morning Larne. I travelled to games with John throughout the 80’s and know how dyed in the wool a Larne supporter he is.
As a club we remembered that and gave him his place in the Directors Box to enjoy the game and the players went that extra mile with him pre-game. These small things really go a long way and make us the club we are. We wish John better health in the months and years to come, he certainly left Inver on Saturday beaming inside and out.
Before moving on from last week, can I thank Translink and in particular Greg McGoldrick for their kind gesture of supplying the transport to bring the team to Inver for the ‘guard of honour’, it was greatly appreciated.
Finally, thanks again for supporting me in my first two seasons back home helping to lead our great club. I look forward with great hope of continuing to build on the foundations we have put in place, and representing the town and club to the best of my ability.