Belfast Telegraph

Ballinamallard United pitching it right

By Graham Luney

Stephen Lowry says he wishes every pitch in the Irish League was as good as Ballinamallard's.

The Coleraine midfielder helped his side secure a 1-1 draw in Fermanagh last weekend and he left singing the praises of the Mallards set-up.

Irish League pitches aren't always conducive to attractive football – particularly at the end of the season – but Lowry feels clubs should be following United's example.

"It's like a carpet all year round," says Lowry, who turned down a summer switch to Linfield.

The Bannsiders ace even gets frustrated with the pitch at the Coleraine Showgrounds which he sometimes feels prevents the players from playing free-flowing football.

But it was a different story at Ferney Park where the surface allowed Oran Kearney's men to produce one of their best performances of the season.

"I feel it was the best football we have played so far," said Lowry. "We were back to our old selfs and creating many chances.

"Our pitch has been hindering us. Compared to the one at Ballinamallard it's not great. There are good pitches at Cliftonville and Glenavon while the Crusaders one is a little too hard for my liking.

"But the rest of the league should do it the Ballinamallard way. It's a joy to play on a surface like that.

"Maybe the pitches would be better in a summer season.

"United have a great set-up down there and I feel their stadium, along with the one at Crusaders, is what all Irish League clubs should look like.

"It's a proper size, compact and contributing to a good atmosphere."

There's certainly a better atmosphere in the Bannsiders dressing room heading into tomorrow's home game with high-flying Glenavon. "Everyone is waiting for Glenavon to mess up but they are flying and Gary Hamilton has bought well," added Lowry.

"The experienced players he has know how to win games but hopefully now we have turned a corner and can go on a run.

"Something just wasn't right before, confidence was dented and it felt like things and luck were going against us.

"It's been a hard and frustrating season to this point but hopefully we can stop the trend of coneding goals at crucial times.

"We need our luck to change."

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