Barry Gray calls for ‘jaded’ Warrenpoint to focus on ‘massive glimpses’
Warrenpoint Town boss Barry Gray watched his side fall victim to an Irish Cup shock then declared the “scoreline flatters us” following Loughgall’s 1-0 success on Saturday.
Nedas Maciulaitis’ goal inside the early stages proved decisive at Lakeview Park as second-tier Loughgall knocked out top-flight Warrenpoint having only played one previous competitive fixture.
“We got exactly what we deserved and we were beaten by a far better side than us on the day,” said Gray. “Loughgall deserved everything they got today and, to be fair, the scoreline flatters us.
“I’m not going to condescend Loughgall in any shape or form...they were far better we were today.
“It wasn’t the fact that we were poor and didn’t do this or that that meant they won the game.
“They won the game because they wanted it more, they were hungrier, they were better organised, they used the ball better and they took their chance and should have probably taken one, two or three others.
“We started the game sloppy, gave away a stupid goal and couldn’t find our way to do anything more than that the whole game bar huff and puff.
“We had too many key players who were nowhere near their usual performances...our biggest frustration was that it was a game that mattered on the day.
“They were willing to do whatever it took to get themselves over the line.
“That might be because they’ve more energy and more mental strength than we have at the minute, I don’t know.
“We are jaded, we are faded, it’s been a long year for us and it’s been tough with the amount of games.
“But it’s no excuse for what we should have displayed today, which was hunger and desire, to give our maximum effort to attempt to get us into the next round of the Irish Cup.”
With the absence of Premiership relegation, the Irish Cup offered Warrenpoint a shot at trophy glory and a focus for the final few weeks of the campaign.
“Lots of players in that changing room have given a huge amount of effort and a huge amount of commitment over the last number of months,” said Gray. “It’s a poor ‘end’ to the season.
“The reality of it is now we have the remaining league games still to play and we want to try and finish in that ninth position.
“That’s our focus, as underwhelming as it sounds.
“Historically, it’s a good enough season no matter what happens in the next number of games.
“We can’t lose scope or sight of how far we’ve come in a short space of time...the reality of it is that we’ve seen massive glimpses into what we can do.
“We need to try and harness that more and more and more...we’ve got an opportunity now in the next couple of games to play with no pressure and see can we reinvigorate ourselves for a higher finish.”
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