IRISH CUP: Larne’s Tiernan Lynch searching for Bruce bonus

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch. Pic by INPHO
Larne manager Tiernan Lynch. Pic by INPHO

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch admits reaching the Tennent’s Irish Cup final would be fitting reward for all the hard work chairman Kenny Bruce has put in behind the scenes.

Lynch said it would be great for the fans and everyone connected to the club if they could over come Oran Kearney’s Coleraine side in Saturday’s semi-final at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

“It would be lovely for Kenny after what he has put in, it would be nice to give him something back,” said Lynch. “It would be nice for the fans and everyone at the club.

“Having sat bottom of the league for long, long periods and now finding ourselves in an Irish Cup semi-final, it is great.

“However, it’s a huge mountain to climb and we are well aware of that but nothing is insurmountable in football.

“There are always shocks and upsets, so you never know.”

Lynch has been impressed by the continued support from the Larne community alongside the club’s rise up the Championship rankings.

“We have sold 1,600 tickets, we are completely sold out, the whole town is buzzing about the tie and we probably could have sold another 400 or 500 if we had been given the chance,” he said. “Getting to the semi-final is great to give the fans something back.

“It’s great they are coming out and following us in their numbers, which to be fair to them they have been all season.

“They are enjoying the way we are trying to play and they are enjoying the football that the boys are serving up so it’s nice for them to have a day out and for us to give them something back.”

Having defeated Ballymena United in the last round, maybe the Showgrounds will be a good omen for the Inver Park men once more but Lynch was also quick to point out that the Bannsiders have a good record at Ballymena.

“I think Coleraine won their semi-final there last year, so they’ll probably be thinking the same thing,” he added. “Look, we have watched Coleraine four or five times and we have looked at a lot of DVDs.

“I have looked at their strengths and, yes, they are a very, very, good side who have only lost once this year in the league but there are weaknesses.

“There are areas where we feel if we get our gameplan right, we might be able to exploit.

“So we are concentrating on the positives rather than worrying about all the negatives.”

The Inver Park club’s hopes were dealt a blow this week after experienced centre-back Shane McEleney was ruled out because of suspension but they have upset the odds more than once this season.

Lynch feels the rest of his squad is raring to go.

“We have had one blow in that Shane isn’t available for us,” said the Larne manager. “As it turns out he’s suspended, but again it’s one of those things, there’s no point crying about it.”