Larne’s Tiernan Lynch searching for sustained European experience
Larne’s latest step on a first European adventure will take place tonight as AGF Aarhus offer only the second test on that stage in club history.
But although the Denmark outfit’s challenge - following progress past Bala Town in the Europa Conference League - remains a fresh hurdle for Larne, manager Tiernan Lynch has his eye on a sustained summer experience.
The desire to “go deep into these competitions” serves as a driving force despite Larne still learning to adjust to European competition.
“The players got last Friday off to rest, but the work began to prepare for the next challenge straight away,” said Lynch on the official Larne website. “I refused point blank to look past the Bala Town game, because that was our sole focus, but once we knew we had qualified attention turned to this game.
“It was clear that Aarhus was always going to be a step up in quality, there was never any question about that.
“It’s a challenge – but that’s why we are here.
“We have talked about this before; we want to put a squad together to hopefully go deep into these competitions.
“So, if you are going to do that, you must go in against sides like Aarhus to see where it takes us.”
The 2-0 aggregate win over Bala Town of Wales across the first qualifying round arrived thanks to single-goal success away then home, with David McDaid and Ronan Hale the respective scorers.
“I couldn’t have been prouder for everyone who is involved in the club,” said Lynch. “We worked a lot in training leading up the Bala game on playing together and getting the new players up to speed on how we want to play as a team.
“I think you could see that pay off last week (at home to Bala), compared to the away game and I thought we looked much more like ourselves.
“I’ve been asked the question a million times and have always answered it the same way, but having our fans makes all the difference to us.
“There have been so many occasions when the fans have dragged us over the line and made the difference for us in tight games or big games and I was so pleased to see the increased capacity with new stand open, against Bala.”
And Larne’s John Herron recently told the club social media channels how he can see growth from each European game.
“It’s early on in the season but I think we’re getting there in terms of our performance,” he said. “The European games are a lot different from the Irish League.
“If you defend well you’ve always got a chance, especially when you have boys like Ronan Hale up front.
“If we can keep it tight at the back we have players like him who can do damage at the other end of the pitch.
“If you keep clean sheets it always gives you a chance.
“People might look at both games with them only being 1-0 but, as I say, we dominated both legs.
“People may doubt us now against Aarhus, but we’re not just here to make up the numbers.
“If we can perform at this level it helps the club and helps attract better players to take us where we want to be.”
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