Lynch ‘not making excuses’ after surrendering three-goal lead

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch struggled to find the words to describe how he felt following his side’s 4-4 draw with Dungannon Swifts last night (Monday).
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The reigning Irish Premiership champions went into their first game of the 2023/24 campaign as firm favourites against a Dungannon team whose place in the top flight was secured after a 3-2 aggregate win over Annagh United in the NIFL play-off final at the end of last season.

Last night’s clash under the floodlights and in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Inver Park saw the east Antrim outfit surrender a 4-1 lead in the final 10 minutes.

Tomas Cosgrove opened the scoring for the home side on 29 minutes, but the teams went in level at the break following Joseph Moore’s equaliser on 35.

Andrew Whiteside celebrates scoring Dungannon's stoppage time equaliser. (Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press).Andrew Whiteside celebrates scoring Dungannon's stoppage time equaliser. (Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press).
Andrew Whiteside celebrates scoring Dungannon's stoppage time equaliser. (Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press).

Dylan Sloan made it 2-1 to Larne on 51, before goals from Andy Ryan (77) and Lee Bonis (80) looked to have secured the win for Lynch’s charges.

However, Ben Gallagher found the net for Rodney McAree’s side on 85 and Tomas Galvin made it 4-3 with a minute of normal time left to play.

The Co Tyrone outfit secured a point in dramatic fashion on 90+5 when Andrew Whiteside got a touch on Moore’s corner to tie the game at 4-4.

Speaking to Larne’s media director Ian Cahoon , Lynch said: “It wasn’t a good performance from start to finish. I don’t think we did ourselves or the fans justice.

"To be 4-1 up, albeit probably wasn’t a 4-1 game for us and to draw that game in the manner we did was totally unacceptable. It was just a very un-Larne-like performance.

"We’ve been training well. We’ve been working hard. I don’t know where that performance came from.

"I’m not going to make excuses and I’m not going to point fingers. We didn’t press, we didn’t get in faces, we didn’t make it difficult enough for them. We’ve got to take it on the chin and go and review it. We can’t sweep it under the carpet or shy away from it and say it was an ‘operning day performance.’ I’m not accepting that, definitely not.

"If anyone here thinks that once you win a league title that you’re entitled to win a second one and they give it to you and you don’t have to work for it and do the things you did last year, they’re mistaken.

"Anything you get in life, you have to make sacrifices for. We didn’t sacrifice enough out there.”

Next up for Larne is an away trip to take on Glentoran at The Bet McLean Oval on Friday, August 11 (7.45pm).

Lynch added: “I can’t even think about Glentoran at this stage. I have to deal with tonight before I can deal with Friday night.”

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Larne’s east Antrim neighbours Carrick Rangers will get their Sports Direct Irish Premiership season underway at home to Newry City on Saturday, August 12 (3pm) after their game against Crusaders was rescheduled to August 22 due to the north Belfast club’s involvement in the UEFA Europa Conference League qualifiers last week.

Meanwhile, Ballyclare Comrades enjoyed an opening-day 3-2 win over Bangor in the Playr-Fit Teamwear NIFL Championship on August 5.

Next up, the Comrades travel to Wilgar Park to face Dundela on Saturday (3pm).