Larne bid 'emotional' farewell to grass pitch as Inver Park upgrade begins

The diggers arrived at Inver Park yesterday as work began on the installation of the new artificial pitch and floodlights.
The diggers arrived at Inver Park yesterday as work began on the installation of the new artificial pitch and floodlights.

LARNE FOOTBALL Club bid an ‘emotional’ farewell to its traditional grass pitch on Saturday but manager, Tiernan Lynch is excited about the changes afoot at Inver Park.

Over 500 supporters packed into the stadium as the Reds romped to a 3-0 win over Dergview to mark their final home game of the Bluefin Sport Championship campaign.

And the club wasted no time in commencing work on the installation of the new 3G surface afterwards to signal a new era at the ambitious club as the mult-million pound upgrade gets underway.

Lynch who is hoping to end the campaign with victory over Lurgan Celtic on Saturday, insists the mentality around the club has changed for the better in the past seven months and he’s already looking forward to the 2018/19 campaign which promises so much both on and off the pitch.

“We had over 500 at the game on Saturday for a game which was in football terms a nothing game,” said the Reds boss. “But they came out in their numbers to say goodbye to the ground as they knew it.

“And it was an emotional day for some. It was a great day for me because I never have to run up that hill anymore,” he laughed. “We’ll get a level playing field now and the surface which is going down will make a massive difference to how we play next year and it will help how we play.

Last Saturday's league win over Dergview was the last game to be played on Larne's grass pitch as work began on the new 3G surface.

Last Saturday's league win over Dergview was the last game to be played on Larne's grass pitch as work began on the new 3G surface.

“From a footballing perspective, the players can’t wait to get back on a good playing surface every second week and get to train on that. We’re pretty much going home now, training there and playing there and everything will be done at the ground.

“It’s probably the first end of season I’ve gone into where I can’t wait for the next one to start.”

The Irish Cup semi-final ensured an exciting end to the season but having missed out on a top six spot, Lynch admits it was difficult to motivate his team for ‘dead rubber’ league matches.

“Once we never made the top six we had a bit of a lifeline with the Irish Cup run and getting to the semi-finals but we’ve played four or five games now where it’s been really difficult to try and lift yourself and motivate yourself.

“But there’s no such thing as a dead game anymore and Kenny Bruce won’t accept people being on the beach until April 28th and after the last ball is kicked.

“The whole mentality of the club has changed with the levels of professionalism going into games.”

Larne lost 1-0 to Dergview in last night's rearranged league clash and finish the campaign against bottom of the table Lurgan Celtic on Saturday.