Third spot the Larne goal as Tiernan Lynch targets Europe after final blow
Larne’s wait for a first taste of Irish Cup glory must now stretch into future seasons - but manager Tiernan Lynch is calling for a final rally to secure a short-term dream.
Defeat on Friday to Linfield left Larne unable to add an inaugural Irish Cup prize into the Inver Park trophy cabinet beside the Co Antrim Shield won earlier in the campaign.
However, with Larne sitting one point behind Glentoran in the battle for third ahead of a meeting between the clubs on Tuesday, Lynch considers as ‘massive’ the reward of European football still on offer.
“Third place guarantees Europe, it’s massive,” said Lynch. “Tuesday’s game is now huge for us and we’ve got to approach it with confidence.
“We’ve got to put the final defeat behind us, as difficult it can be.
“We have got to look at the positives from this season and reaching the final...it gave us a flavour of what we want to taste a lot more of.
“It will give us the chance to get the hurt out of our system.
“We must now dust down ourselves very quickly.
“No-one wants to lose Irish Cup finals...and you don’t want to lose them in the manner we did.
“But it is something we now have to live with - we’ve got to get back on the training ground and we’ve got to put things right on Tuesday night.”
And, from the pain of the 2-1 loss to Linfield, Lynch is keen to draw lessons for continued progress.
“We didn’t turn up and Linfield were bang on it...they deserve credit for their performance,” said Lynch. “I spoke to our players after the game, I explained this was our first Irish Cup as a group and, unfortunately, you have to go through the pain barrier on occasions, but we’ve got to learn from it.
“That’s the main objective from the defeat – we must learn from it.
“No-one is going to take the pain away...it should hurt, it should sting.
“We have to make sure we don’t find ourselves in this position again.
“I always speak about the journey we are on.
“This is another step, albeit a disappointing one, it’s important we learn from our setbacks.
“The message to the players is to learn from it...it’s a cut that is stinging, and rightly so.
“It’s an experience that will stand by us, although it doesn’t feel like it right now.
“For a lot of players, it was their first Irish Cup final.
“It looked like the occasion played them, we often talk about not letting that happen, but that’s easier said than done.
“But that will be something they can keep in the locker moving forward.
“The big thing we are based on is the football we play.
“We never played our football (in the final), we never got on the ball and we never did the things that we have done so well this season.
“There can be all kinds of different reasons for that...you have got to give Linfield credit for their work-rate off the ball and the way they pressed us.
“But as I keep saying, we have got to keep putting ourselves in these positions in order to overcome them.
I’m confident that will be here (in a final) more often than not, if we keep doing the things we are doing.”
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