Shea Gordon features in the latest edition of our new monthly magainze, the Inver Read. Below you can read an exlusive extract from this month’s big interview.
Shea Gordon believes the disappointment of this summer’s early European exit has brought about greater resilience in Tiernan Lynch’s squad.
A 1-0 aggregate defeat to St Joseph’s of Gibraltar was a big blow to everyone at the club back in July, especially after the heroics of 2021’s European odyssey. It also proved to be a tough introduction to life at Inver Park for Gordon, who made his debut for the club in the Europa Conference League.
Since then, however, the Invermen enjoyed a fine start to the new Danske Bank Premiership campaign, coming into October unbeaten and just two points off the top. The 24-year-old believes the experience of the summer helped to bring the squad together as well as bring out the character needed to have a successful season.
“It was a tough blow to take even before the season really started,” Gordon said of the exit to St Joseph’s. “For us we had to get back on the horse and I think we have. We’ve shown we’ve got a bit of resilience and a bit of a character in the squad. “We want to keep grinding out results and hopefully winning games will continue the momentum. “There have been quite a few changes in the squad this summer. New players come in, and others step up and we’ve got big characters in the group.
“That rubs off on other people and you rally round together for the same cause. We’re all fighting for each other, which is the main thing. If you keep doing that you’re not going to be too far off it.” The Invermen completed September with a record of four wins and two draws from their opening six league games, with progress also made in the County Antrim Shield and League Cup. It was something both the team and Gordon individually was hoping to achieve.
The Derryloughan man arrived at the club from Partick Thistle in July, having spent the second half of last season on loan to fellow Scottish Championship side Queen of the South. Joining Larne was his first foray into Irish League football after leaving Dungannon Swifts as a youngster. “You want to get off to a good start,” he reflected. “If you don’t it leaves you chasing teams from the get go and it was important for us to win games early on.
“If we can keep ourselves in and around it then that’s great and it means we’re not far away. “It’s a new league to me, but there were places you’d go to in Scotland that were similar to where we have visited so far. “Going to new grounds and facing new teams is always different and a challenge. “For me, I’m just trying to make sure I get my head right for every game and be on it. You can’t take your foot off the gas here.”
October is shaping up to be a potentially important month for the team, with tests against Coleraine, Cliftonville, Linfield and Glentoran all in the mix. Gordon knows the importance of helping carry on the momentum built up in big tests against top six sides. “We’ve talked about within the changing room, it’s an important month,” he acknowledged.
“We’ve started the season well, so you want to keep that momentum up and keep winning games. “We can only focus on one game at a time. We’ll do that throughout October as we have been, but we know there are some big games coming up here. “Ultimately you’re going into them to win games of football.”
Gordon comes into the month buoyed by striking his first goal for the club at the end of September – an impressive strike away to Carrick Rangers which settled the first East Antrim derby of the season. He admits it felt good to grab his first goal in Larne colours. He said: “Sometimes when you come to a new club you want to get that first goal to ease you in. “In a big game like a derby, it’s great and hopefully I can chip in my fair share. “It’s something I’ve prided myself on, getting goals in my career from midfield. It’s a bit different here, playing a bit deeper but I’m enjoying it.
“As long as I can help the team, that’s the most important thing.” Reflecting on the goal – catching a half clearance from Mark Randall’s corner with crisp low volley into the net from just inside the Carrick box – Gordon was modest in his recollection.
“It was all about trying to slow the body down to come on to the ball,” he explained. “I just wanted to hit it as cleanly as possible on the edge of the box. If you can catch it clean and keep it on target, then you never know where it can end up. “Thankfully for me it ended up in the back of the net.”
While the goal away to Carrick was an important step in helping Gordon to settle in, he is also glad to find a group of new team-mates who have welcomed him with open arms. The end of September saw him start four games in a row, including cup ties, and he feels he is now ready to click into gear for his new club.
“The boys have been great with me,” he added. “There were a few new lads who came in at the start of the summer like myself and you tend to hang around together as the new boys. “However, we all feel like one big team now and we’ve got a great group in the changing room. “It’s a great environment to come into every day and the boys really got round us when we came in. “We just want to keep that going now and see where it takes us.”
You can get your hands on the October 2022 edition of the Inver Read online HERE, priced at just £3.50