Belfast Telegraph

No excuses from us, we threw the Irish League title away, says Linfield midfielder Stephen Lowry

By Graham Luney

Stephen Lowry says Warren Feeney was right to blast his players after Linfield's title challenge ended against Glenavon last weekend.

Crusaders were effectively crowned champions when they triumphed 1-0 at Solitide while the Blues slumped to a 2-0 loss to the Lurgan Blues at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

Nine points clear with only three games remaining and boasting a vastly superior goal difference, the north Belfast side are preparing for a Gibson Cup party at Seaview on Saturday, April 25.

The Linfield post-mortem has begun and boss Feeney was highly critical of his players after their title dream went up in smoke.

After giving his troops the hairdryer treatment at the Showgrounds, Feeney emerged to say: "I've just told them I don't want players who are going to shy away from things because I never did that myself and there were a lot who I was very disappointed with and I told them that I'll not be accepting it.

"It was nowhere near good enough for this club."

Lowry says Feeney was right to give the players a piece of his mind.

"The manager said what he felt about the players' performances and we have to take it on the chin," said the Blues midfielder.

"Warren had a pop at us and he's just right. It's up to us to show some pride and show him we want to play for the club.

"I don't think we are that far away as a squad. The boys have done their best this season but it hasn't been good enough."

Lowry, whose side travel to the home of outgoing champions Cliftonville tomorrow, admits that Crusaders are worthy winners of only the fifth title in the club's history.

The Gibson Cup will return to Seaview for the first time in 18 years but Linfield's agony goes on.

The league and cup double in 2012 under legendary boss David Jeffrey was the Blues' last major trophy success.

It's been a turbulent campaign for a club which had to play away from home at the start and end of the season due to redevelopment work and then safety concerns at Windsor Park.

But you won't hear excuses from the players or management.

"There' a lot of disappointment and from my point of view we threw it all away," added Lowry.

"At different stages of the season we were in winning positions in big matches and didn't see the job through. That's what hurts us the most but at the same time fair play to the Crues, they went on a great run, scored a lot of goals and they deserved to win the championship.

"We always knew that Cliftonville and Crusaders were going to be big threats but we hung in there and put in a challenge.

"Crusaders added to their squad in January and it gave them enough to get across the line, but we missed opportunities to put pressure on the Crues, including on Saturday when we lost to Glenavon.

"We fell at the final hurdle and we didn't deserve to win the league."

Belfast Telegraph


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