Newry City set for landmark night against Dungannon Swifts
One week into a landmark senior season for Newry City AFC and manager Darren Mullen is tasked with regrouping from his side's first setback.
However, in a campaign set to feature a string of fresh experiences, a first taste of Premiership football on home soil offers high hopes of a rapid recovery.
A run of four promotions up the league ladder in five seasons has handed Mullen numerous highs and lows but he expects walking out backed by the Newry fans tonight to prove another memory to add to the collection.
“As disappointed as we can be not to have taken something from Institute, the games come thick and fast and the Dungannon match marks a big night for the club,” said Mullen.
“To have top-flight football at Newry Showgrounds should serve as extra motivation and we have been able to call on terrific support all along this journey.
“We spoke about how days may not go our way this season but the mood remains good and it is about leaving that disappointment behind at the Brandywell.
“Every week offers a different test, as much mental as anything, so now we prepare for Dungannon, a side with an obvious threat.
“The big lesson from last weekend is not to switch off otherwise you can expect to get punished.”
Mullen’s managerial counterpart at Dungannon Swifts is familiar with life at a provincial club striving to maximise every opportunity. As a result, Rodney McAree is also aware of the potential for inspiration from moments like tonight.
“Newry will throw everything into trying to take full advantage from what is a massive occasion playing at home in the Premiership for the first time,” said McAree. “I have a lot of respect for Newry and am delighted to see such a well-run club with such a good ground in the top division.
“But we do not want to come away with back-to-back disappointments following our own defeat.
“Gaps can open up pretty quickly and we want to get our own season up and running.”