Eamon Curry believes hard work is key
IT wasn’t exactly an Oktoberfest for Strabane Athletic supporters who have watched their team bow out of no fewer than three major cup competitions in a month.
On Saturday Athletic suffered extra-time heartbreak when losing 2-1 to Maiden City in the semi-final of the Craig Memorial Cup, that painful exit coming just seven days after losing 3-2 to Rathfriland Rangers in the first round of the IFA Intermediate Cup.
And at the beginning of October the North Tyrone men were beaten at Newcastle in the second round of the Tennents Irish Cup.
That said it hasn’t been all bad news for Strabane. In between the Tyrone side hit Oxford United Stars for six in their opening league game before drawing 0-0 with Magherafelt Sky Blues.
Later today (Saturday) Strabane, who last week confirmed the departure of manager Neil Carlin owing to “personal reasons”, resume their league campaign at Ballymoney United.
New manager Eamon Curry insists his players must put their cup woes behind them and get back to winning ways in the league.
“You can’t win a league in the first few games but you can lose it,” he said.
“This league is small, lose a couple of games and you can be out of the running.
“To the likes of myself, Neil’s departure didn’t come as any great shock. We had spoken about things in recent times and knowing Neil, and the man that he is, I don’t think its an coincidence that he stepped down when he did.
“I would say he looked at the situation and wanted to give us a clean run at the league. We suffered three cup defeats in a month and it’s not where we want to be as a club.”
Against Maiden City, Athletic played their full part in a pulsating cup-tie at Spamount Playing Fields. A Connor Loughery penalty gave the visitors a first half lead but that goal was cancelled out by a cracking drive from Conor Carlin early in the second period. At that stage Strabane appeared to have the upper hand but slowly but surely an experienced City regained control and PJ Ward broke Athletic hearts with an extra-time winner.
Curry is in no doubt he has the quality in the squad to match the very best.
“Without doubt but it doesn’t matter how much quality you have unless it comes with hard work,” said the Ex-Tyrone Milk Cup boss.
“This is a young group of players but they have to realise they are now competing in a man’s world.
“I feel the players are more committed to the process this season and we have brought in a bit more expeience in the likes of Mickey Logue, Richie Graham, Chrissy Gallagher as well as holding onto Aaron O’Hagan.
“We have loads of quality, we have pace in the team and we will get the rewards if we work harder than others teams. We need to have that mentaility every game.”
Posted: 8:26 am November 4, 2017