Tomas Cosgrove is looking beyond the hype behind the rise of ‘new money’ clubs Larne and Glentoran - instead counting on old-school values within the daily grind as a path towards long-term progress.
The significant investment in Cosgrove’s Larne and this weekend’s hosts, Glentoran, adds an extra element to the meeting of two Danske Bank Premiership sides divided by a single point in the current standings.
The former Cliftonville player was one of the first on board the Larne revolution and he has first-hand knowledge of the building blocks in place behind a successful Bluefin Sport Championship title charge last season and this campaign’s encouraging start to life at the top table.
The Glens may enjoy an Irish League history rivalled only by Linfield in terms of status and silverware but this year’s cash injection marks a fresh chapter for a club struggling for so long to prove competitive.
Both clubs have utilised the transfer kitty to extend a scouting network beyond domestic borders and bring in players from outside the Irish League. Cosgrove watched on with admiration as the Glens’ revamped squad cruised past Institute in front of the Sky Sports TV cameras on Monday night and accepts comparisions between the clubs’ ambitions.
“Glentoran are an established Premiership club whereas it is new to lots of our players, so that’s one difference,” said Cosgrove. “But both clubs are integrating players from outside and I know from how we’ve been working at Larne that everyone at the club can help but that adjustment only really kicks in over playing time.
“I was impressed with Glentoran against Institute and you could see the new signings all playing a part.
“Ultimately, both clubs need time to do things the right way and certainly at Larne our approach is to come in and put in the hard work together and build slowly.
“You cannot buy points and we’ve found an adjustment period since moving up into the Premiership compared to last season, so it’s taking us time to find ways to impose our game on top-flight sides.
“Both clubs will be looking to break into the top six this season but anything you achieve only comes thanks to the gradual efforts behind the scenes.”
Glens head coach Mick McDermott is searching for home help at The Oval as key to the club’s development.
“On Monday against Institute we had another great crowd and it was good to put down a marker of how we want to perform at home this season,” said McDermott on the official Glentoran website. “Larne are a good team who like to get the ball down and play so it should be an entertaining game for what should be another big crowd.
“I’m sure a lot of pundits will make Larne favourites.
“That may be fair enough, given the time they’ve had to build their team and the investment they’ve managed to put behind it over the past couple of years.
“But we’re at home and we’ve made it a target for this season that teams are going to suffer when they come here, no matter who we play.
“No matter what the result is, we want all teams who come here to know they’re in a battle and the players are all up for that.”