TOMORROW we welcome our friends and fellow Bluefin Sport Championship challengers Dundela Football Club to Inver Park for what is sure to be a ‘Christmas Cracker’ of a game.
The Duns, under the tutelage of Head Coach Bryan McCarroll, have been somewhat the surprise package in this season’s title race, showing no signs yet of letting up. There is a great blend of youth and experience within the squad and they have just continued to grow in stature on the back of the fantastic title-winning season last term.
Off the park they grow and develop also, much respect goes to the hard-working guys behind the scenes driving this famous old club forward. Dundela has always been a name synonymous with success in our local game and after the ninety minutes are over tomorrow, I wish them every success for the rest of this season season and beyond.
It will be good to get home to Inver tomorrow after a hard-fought draw away to Dergview last Saturday. It wasn’t our day, we make no excuses, things just didn’t go our way on the day. I can assure everyone that Tiernan and the boys have worked extremely hard this week with a real intent to put things right at the first attempt. Let’s get behind them from the off.
Before moving on from tomorrow, can I say that I am really looking forward to welcoming some of the boys from the halcyon days in the late ‘80’s to the game as part of their Christmas get together. These boys, including Paul Malone, Eddie Spiers, Ian Bustard, Francis Smith, Paul Hardy, Tommy McDonald, Harry Kernohan and John McKinstry, were heroes of mine growing up and form part of many positive life memories I have following our great club.
To now be the Chairman and in a position to welcome these guys back is privilege that I can assure you is not lost on me. When you see the boys tomorrow, ensure they get the famous Inver Park welcome they still remember from their playing days. Legends one and all.
In a nice twist of fate, the ‘Old Boys’ will join the Larne Youth 2006 Olympic team on the pitch for a photograph before the game. The 06’s last Saturday night delivered the first piece of silverware to Inver Park this season, as they defeated local side Wellington Rec Youth 5-2 in the South Belfast Youth League Supplementary Cup Final at Inver Park. This is surely going to be a memorable photo for players, parents and grandparents alike of this young team. Well done boys from everyone at the senior end of the club.
After hundreds of entries spanning across four continents and 20 countries, our #BringThemHome winner was announced last Friday evening. Lee Millar was our lucky winner, who will be flying home for Christmas from Qatar after being entered into our competition by his mother Mandy. I would like to thank everyone who entered, shared and engaged in our #BringThemHome competition and we are very much looking forward to welcoming Lee and his family as our VIP guests on Boxing Day when we play Ballyclare Comrades at Inver Park.
You will have seen over the last few weeks that we have been pushing the #RAWA / Salvation Army Christmas Gift Appeal, to help families and kids within our own community this festive period. The response has been fantastic and we are humbled by your support, tomorrow is our last home game prior to Christmas and I am hoping for one last big push to maximise the donation we can hand over. Let’s dig deep and help us, help those less fortunate this festive period. Thanks in advance…
Our media team is always looking at new ways to boost supporter engagement in creative ways. This attitude has allowed us to create ‘Larne FC News’ this week, the first official Alexa Skill in Irish Football and one of only a few in the entire UK. As part of the launch of ‘Larne FC News’, we will be running a social media competition offering supporters the chance to win an Amazon Echo. Details of this competition can be found on our Facebook page, I look forward to seeing this project unfold, and a massive well done to the boys involved in making it happen. Keep raising the bar guys.
Before concluding, we have been handed a tough draw against a strong Newry City team who like to play football the right way. Home advantage and the support of the #RAWA could be the difference. Let’s make it happen in the stands and on the terraces and maybe we can dare to dream all over again, ah the romance of the cup…!
Finally, can I thank The Curran Court Hotel for their continued sponsorship of our pre-match preparations, Graham’s Pizza for our post-match food, our match sponsor Just Active Gym, our match ball sponsor The Book Reality Experience and our Man of the Match sponsor, Classic Drinks in conjunction with Vallformosa.
See you at the church end…