Football/Soccer

We won't get carried away like last season: Larne boss Tiernan Lynch

Tiernan Lynch says they were perhaps seduced by the hype last season

Danske Bank Irish Premiership

LARNE boss Tiernan Lynch says he has learned invaluable lessons from last season and insists they won't get carried away with the kind of hype which derailed their championship prospects.

Regarded as one of the brightest minds in local football, Lynch promises to not obsess over their league position.

The Inver Park men were flying high at the top of the Irish Premiership last season before losing their way in the new year.

Sitting in fourth place after last Saturday's clinical 3-0 win over Ballymena United, Larne hope to make further gains at home to fifth placed Glentoran tonight.

“I learned a harsh lesson last year because I think you can get yourself caught up in the: ‘Where are we in the league at Christmas?'

“This is league is absolutely the tightest league you'll ever be involved in, there are so many good teams. It's literally week by week.

“Last year I think we were five points clear on the 2nd of January going in against Ballymena and we finished fourth. You just never know what's around the corner in this league. A bit of luck can go against you, a refereeing decision, an injury, a loss of form.

“Up until Christmas last year we couldn't lose games. We were getting 94th minute winners against teams. To be honest, we probably got a bit carried away with the hype and everybody had us winning the league and that it was a two-horse race…”

Despite their dip in form post-Christmas last season, Lynch has been a bit of a trend-setter since taking the Larne reins, winning many plaudits for his side's easy-on-the-eye style of play.

“Back in my day it was ‘hustle and bustle', aggression, second balls and being more direct,” he said.

“I think those days are gone and there are more teams trying to build out from the back, and playing through the lines. People are enjoying going to watch their football and I think it's going to get better and better. You look at the massive crowd at the recent Cliftonville-Larne game.

“Ultimately, football is about success and results, otherwise you don't keep your job but I'm also a big believer in the players and the fans here because there are not too many players that I've worked with who enjoy opening up their body and humping the ball 60 yards up the pitch and seeing what happens.

“Players want to get on the ball and play and be given the freedom and enjoy what they do, and it's the same with the fans. I don't think the Larne fans would accept players just booting the ball away anymore.”

Saturday's two-goal hero against Ballymena, Mark Randall is suspended for tonight's crucial home clash with the Glens, while Lynch will be hoping Premiership strugglers Portadown can upset the odds against league leaders Cliftonville.

Larne have lost just two league games out of 10 - coming against Crusaders and more recently Cliftonville.

“In that loss to Cliftonville, we were poor in certain areas of the game. Not so much in possession but out of possession. We were wide open and we didn't do the things we are normally very, very good at. That was hugely disappointing for the players themselves, so I felt we owed the fans one [against Ballymena] and they've been superb since that defeat."

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Football/Soccer