Shane McEleney embracing Larne ‘favourites’ tag

Larne's Shane McEleney
Larne's Shane McEleney

Shane McEleney insists his Larne team-mates are more than capable of justifying their pre-season title favourites tag - but warned they must guard against complacency.

The experienced centre-half said the players are brimming with confidence after a hugely encouraging pre-season campaign which included a 2-1 victory over defending Danske Bank Premiership champions Crusaders at Seaview and a draw with Spanish second-tier outfit Gimnastic during a five-day high-altitude training camp in Andorra.

However, despite manager Tiarnan Lynch’s impressive summer recruitment drive, McEleney knows the Inver Reds must be prepared to ‘put the tin hats on’ and battle.

Plus, with almost 400 season tickets sold for the new-look Inver Park, there are growing expectations.

“I think we have enough senior pros in the team, a good experienced spine, to know what needs to be done,” he said. “We’re not thinking we have to win the league, we’re taking it a game at a time.

“Hopefully we win as many games as we can and it proves to be enough for us but we’re not going into the league campaign over-confident.

“The boys have put in all the hard work during the off-season and we’re more than ready to step it up now and challenge for the league.

“So we’re looking forward to it rather than being nervous about it.

“We know every team is going to come out and try to bully us and out-play us as title favourites but we have more than enough to handle it and we’ll relish the whole season.

“Portadown, Carrick Rangers and Loughgall will be tough games but I think we’ll have more than enough against them.

“The gaffer has recruited really well, the team has bonded over the past six weeks but we’ll take it in our stride.

“We’ll see what happens but, hopefully, we can bring it home come the end of the season.”