IRISH LEAGUE: You may say Shane’s a dreamer, but he’s not the only one

Shane McGinty reckons Saturday's result points to the potential of a bright future for Ballinamallard. Photo Lorcan Doherty /
Shane McGinty reckons Saturday's result points to the potential of a bright future for Ballinamallard. Photo Lorcan Doherty /

Imagine Ballinamallard turned into an Irish League force.

Hailing from a village of under 2,000 people, it’s not exactly the natural home for a footballing heavyweight.

But Saturday’s Man of the Match Shane McGinty has the vision to picture their 3-0 win over Glentoran as a significant step into a brighter future - and his team-mates agree.

That’s why after he game he confirmed he will remain a Ballinamallard player next season - in an exclusive interview you can read here.

“Maybe I’m a dreamer but I believe that we could do something great here,” he said, with an excited twinkle in his eye.

“Myself, the players and Gavin (Dykes - manager) believe that once we secure our safety this year, we could be a surprise package next season.

“It hasn’t happened before that we’ve pushed on into a European place and now the play-off system works great for clubs like us. Maybe doing that or getting a good cup run and it would be a decision well-made for me.

“The league’s been talking about Coleraine who have progressed into a top side with young players and I would like to think everyone at the club here is aiming at that.”

Once the microphone was switched off, an intense focus in his eyes, the 22 year-old reiterated, “I really believe that.”

And that’s much to Ballinamallard’s gain as McGinty showed why he has received offers from clubs he says are ‘historically bigger’ than Ballinamallard with another outstanding display.

He led Ballinamallard’s attacking Fab Four, linking well with wingers Ryan Mayse and Niall Owens behind striker Ryan Curran.

McGinty fired home the third on 52 minutes, his sixth goal of the campaign, to add to Mayse and Colm McLaughlin’s five minute double-salvo midway through the first half.

“I think we’re starting to gel now,” said McGinty of he and his attacking team-mates. “Collectively we have a few things to tighten up on and I think we’ll be a hell of a side.

“At times we maybe go gung-ho and leave us exposed. I know against Linfield, it was put to us that us going forward late on cost us. There’s a positive and a negative that we need to learn and hopefully that will come soon.”

The Glens, meanwhile, offered little after Curtis Allen’s second minute strike was ruled out for offside. Their misery was complete when Tiarnan McAuley limped off and they had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men. Teenage winger Conal Delaney proved their only shining light on another dark day - much to the fury of boss Gary Haveron.

“Pathetic, the way we conceded the goals,” he said. “(The players) have got to be honest. They don’t have the right to quit. You’ve got to give everything. (Our fans) deserve at least that. You play for a club and the least the fans deserve is 100% from you.”

Dungannon’s defeat to Ards means the Glens are still just a point off a European play-off place, scant consolation.

“It’s alright saying you’ve still got a chance but you’ve got to get the points and that performance doesn’t indicate that we will,” said Haveron.

For the Mallards, though, it was an end to a five game losing streak and a win McGinty hopes will have much more long-term significance.