Larne manager Tiernan Lynch is backing the club’s ambitious move into a full-time project to get results over time.
Lynch’s players kicked off the Championship season on Saturday with a 3-0 defeat to title favourites Portadown.
A number of players proved ineligible for selection due to the absence of international clearance, with Larne forced to field a restricted 13-strong panel.
Portadown recorded an assured performance overall but Lynch felt the early energy on show offered positive signs of promise for Larne.
The club’s connection with Ulster University, Red Strike International Football Academy and Larne High School has resulted in the first-team players taking part in daily morning education and afternoon training.
“It’s a little bit frustrating as a manager as you want everything yesterday but it’s a long-term project,” said Lynch. “The Board have been fantastic, we came in with a whole new idea and concept and the easiest thing would have been for the Board to say no and keep on with the traditional idea of training on a Tuesday and Thursday.
“But where was it really going?
“They have come in with open minds and backed me with everything I’ve wanted to do.
“Obviously there’s not a lot of money about but I can’t fault them in any department.
“For everybody else it’s maybe difficult to see but for myself I see the end goal and where it’s going to go so it’s easier.
“We don’t have an awful lot of money so when I spoke to the Board we talked about a three, four or five-year project.
“The first year is always going to be the most difficult as not everybody wants to jump into full-time football until they see where it is going to go.
“Next year will be a much easier sell but if we don’t try it we will never know.
“I could not ask for more from the bunch of lads we are working with at the minute.
“We will get there, the plan is in place so I just have to stick with it.”
Larne officials released a statement late last month offering clarification of the partnership.
“With the co-operation of Red Strike and the University of Ulster, the Larne Football Club first team will now be educated in the morning and train in the afternoon, effectively making them full-time footballers and also gaining an education, instead of the old system of training twice a week,” confirmed the website post. “The benefits of full-time training are obvious...and the players who join Larne Football Club will be dedicated to improving their game on a daily basis.”