McConnell’s Larne are up and running

Larne's Scotty Irvine is grounded after this Dergview foul. INLT 33-362-PR

Larne's Scotty Irvine is grounded after this Dergview foul. INLT 33-362-PR

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They may have left it late, but Larne are up and running in Championship 1.

Mark Picking’s last-gasp strike gave the Inver Park outfit a 2-1 win over Dergview last weekend and that momentum continued on Tuesday evening with a 5-3 win over Portstewart in the League Cup. Now boss Graham McConnell is aiming to build on the early-season feelgood factor by battening down the hatches on the home front.

“Saturday’s win was great and one it was 100 per cent deserved,” said McConnell. “We shaded the first-half and dominated the second and we were good value for all three points. At half-time we said they had come to Inver Park to get a draw and we decided we would go back out to push hard for the win we wanted.

“People are talking about it having taken us until November for our first win last season, and about it being quite a few years since we won an opener, but I don’t pay much heed to such comparisons.

“What actually pleased me most was the manner of how we clinched the win. We only went in front with five or six minutes remaining and then we conceded a poor goal. Last season that would have been it. But we were not going to settle for a point and we threw everything at them and got the winner.

“We need to do well now, however, because we have a lot of games at home, including today’s Steel and Sons Cup match against Shorts. Another one of these is a match with Bangor which was supposed to be away, but they haven’t got their pitch ready yet, so the fixture is being reversed.

“It was a good start, but now it’s imperative we build on the Dergview win, and I believe that we can do just that against Shorts.”