Larne’s Johnny McMurray loving variation in attacking role

Larne striker Johnny McMurray. Pic by Pacemaker.
Larne striker Johnny McMurray. Pic by Pacemaker.

Johnny McMurray may fit into the model of the archetypal Irish League centre-forward but on Saturday he offered invention alongside the energy associated among his traditional attributes.

The striker found the net at Mourneview Park with a finish both acrobatic and unorthodox to cement success for Larne on a 3-1 tally over Glenavon.

A spot on the scoresheet helped to cap a fine individual display by McMurray, having been initially deployed in a role deeper to the advanced position so common across his career, often adding a delicate touch to the familiar physical strength.

Davy McDaid came close on a number of occasions inside the area to directly enjoying the benefits of McMurray’s vision from outside the area thanks to a tactical tweak by Larne.

“We played a formation like today in a previous game, it worked well then and it was the same today,” said McMurray. “It kept me in a different position early on, then I was pushed forward in the second half into where I’m more used to playing.

“We tried to play as a three up top and got some joy off it, as with both teams going for it that left gaps in behind.

“With Davy doing well as that focal point there was no point me going up to disturb it.

“It’s about getting that balance and creativity right with me, Davy and Marty Donnelly - some days it will be me at the top.

“It’s not so much about doing that role for any one individual to get into the side, more it’s about the unit working together...so if that’s what’s needed.

“It can sometimes confuse the opposition and we made changes again towards the end of the game which also helped us, so credit to the management.

“Training in this environment at Larne gives me more insight into my game, we are working on things every day and that variation to that role is definitely helpful.

“Instead of always going in behind, it allows me to go and play, drop into the space, make passes and do something different to what opponents maybe expect.”

Alongside the unusual of his early role, came the familiar towards the finish of the fixture for a player who has scored goals on a consistent basis across his career.

“For my goal some were trying to say I slipped and others I was going for the overhead kick...I threw a leg at it so am just happy to see it go in and don’t really care how it looked,” said McMurray, who is on course to set a personal record in the current campaign. “I’ve nine or 10 goals since the start of the season, which is the most I think I’ve been on ever at this stage, so it’s clicking for me.

“At Ballymena I ended up with around 20 one season but, if I can maintain this rate, I will be looking to beat that tally.”

GLENAVON: Tuffey, Burns, Marron, Doyle (Larmour, 46), Daniels, Marshall, Mitchell (Jenkins, 46), Hall (Beggs, 87), Harmon, Murray, Garrett.

Subs: Clingan, McCloskey, Wearen, Hamilton.

LARNE: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Ramsey, Sule (Lynch, 67), Randall, McDaid, Donnelly (Tilney, 79), Hughes, McMurray.

Subs: Mitchell, McEleney, McKendry, Graham, Gilmour.

Referee: Robert Harvey.