Matthew Tipton has been in charge at Warrenpoint for under three months but he hopes he has already brought through a star of the future.
Lorcan Forde, at just 17, put in a starring performance in Saturday’s 5-0 Irish Cup success over Mid-Ulster side Crewe United.
Although he wasn’t one of the five different scorers for the hosts, Tipton hailed the attacker’s performance.
“In general, we were good going forward but I thought our best attacking player was Lorcan Forde,” he said.
“He was outstanding, the way he moved the ball, moved players about and got at people was really pleasing.
“He’s a 17 year-old boy who we’ve dipped in and out of the team. Sometimes it’s better for him to get 90 minutes with the Under 20s rather than come off the bench. It was pleasing to see his performance and he’s put himself in the frame for a starting place next week.
“He got his debut as a 16 year-old in my first league game here. Now it’s about managing Lorcan. He probably thinks he can play every game - I remember knocking on the manager’s door asking for games myself at that age. I want to make sure we get the best out of him - not this week or next week but throughout his career.
“Liam McKenna is another 17 year-old who scored a great goal. We have options all over the pitch, which is what we need.”
Forwards Conor McMenamin and Stephen Murray bagged two quickfire goals to put Point 2-0 ahead midway through the first half and take their combined tally to 36 for the season so far.
“For 15 minutes, they contained us but once we got the first goal, it was fairly routine,” said Tipton.
“Conor has been outstanding all season but he had a bit of a blip there for a few weeks. He was still scoring goals but I didn’t think his performance levels were up.
“I got him up this week and explained what I wanted from him. I thought he delivered that.”
Philip Donnelly made it 3-0 at the break before McKenna and Curtis Dempster put the icing on the cake off the bench.
For Crewe United, the defeat brought to an end their best ever Irish Cup run.
Pearse Devine went closest to a consolation with a free-kick that was destined for the top corner before it was clawed away.
“We tried to contain them and hit them on the break but we had five players, four on the bench and one that started, that I hadn’t seen playing before. That’s how difficult it was,” reflected former NI international and Crewe manager Peter Kennedy.
“I’m proud of the effort the lads put in. It was 5-0 but we gave away some stupid goals. At the end of the day, Warrenpoint are a good team.
“Pearce put a good shift in. He’s an honest lad and a good player but all round, it was just one of those days. We have to take it on the chin and move on.”
Kennedy took over the reigns in November and, as he admits, is in the midst of a squad overhaul.
“There are going to be big changes,” he said. “I have to assess everybody and see where things are. We’ve a big game on Wednesday and we’re still in the Marshall Cup so we’ll go into every game trying to win it and we’ll see where it takes us.
“Then it’s going to be a big building process in the summer.”
Warrenpoint’s win stretched their unbeaten run to 12 in all competitions. Fighting for the Championship title though, Tipton hinted, will take precedence over their quarter-final tie at Dungannon Swifts.
“Dungannon are a very good football team,” he said. “They’re underrated. They’ve come on a lot and it’s going to be a really tough game. If I’m honest, Dungannon are massive favourites.
“Our league form will determine what we do in the cup. The quarter-finals were beyond our wildest dreams. We’ll have to look what way we are in the league because we have a smaller squad after a few players left in January.”