Larne scrap Olympic team

Larne FC Manager Graham McConnell. INLT 42-018-PSB
Larne FC Manager Graham McConnell. INLT 42-018-PSB

Larne manager Graham McConnell had to face up to two major decisions at the weekend and, disappointing as they each were - both for himself and everyone connected with the club, he says each choice was right thing to do.

Saturday’s abandonment of the home match against Institute midway through the first half was the right one on a day when the weather was the only winner. And his move to scrap the Olympic team, who played in the Ballymena and Provincial League, was something he felt just had to be done.

“Jamie McGarel came in to run the Olympic when I stepped up to manage the first-team and we had been finding it tough to get help for him in the job,” explained McConnell.

“The lack of interest from players had a bearing on it and it had been more or less decided that we would axe the team at the end of the season. But it came to a bit of a head when a couple of players wouldn’t play for them on Saturday.

“The bottom line is that it had been increasingly difficult to field a team, with players showing a general lack of commitment and interest in the Olympic.

“It is unfortunate that this had to happen, but the team would have been scrapped at the end of the season in any case and, for me, it was becoming very hard to get the time to devote to being involved with it.”

As for the Institute match being abandoned on Saturday, McConnell believes it was the right decision.

“It was actually the wrong decision to start it, the fact that Institute had so far to travel, perhaps an influencing factor in that. I never thought it was playable.

“For Larne, you could say it was a blessing in disguise because we were a goal down and could well have been three or four behind. We got out of jail in that respect, really.

“The match couldn’t continue and the rain kept coming after it was called off, turning to snow in fact.”

This weekend the Reds face a trip to Caslederg to take on Dergview - a first for the Inver boss.

“I have never been, so I am looking forward to this one. We played them earlier in the season at Inver and I remember saying they were the best footballing team we had met. We led 1-0 at the interval and they had a man sent off on the stroke of half time. And they fought back to get the draw.

“They play a lovely brand of football and, even with 10 men, they continued to play the same way - rather than bring tempted to hoof the ball long upfield.

“As we did for the trip to Warrenpoint, we are traveling together after, committee, supporters and players meet up for breakfast - which brings a nice togetherness around the place.

“If we play as well as we did against Warrenpoint, I will take whatever result comes with that against a team in good form, having beaten Limavady 2-0 away from home on Saturday.”