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Ballinamallard are fighting to inspire the whole county: McConkey

By Steven Beacom

Harry McConkey insists Ballinamallard United are not just battling for their top flight status - they are fighting to inspire future stars from Fermanagh.

After being at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership for most of the season, Ballinamallard finally jumped above Carrick Rangers when they defeated David McAlinden's men 2-1 at Ferney Park on Tuesday night.

It was a massive victory and means the Mallards now have their destiny in their own hands. They are two points ahead of Carrick with two games left and a possible play-off with a Championship club to come to secure their place amongst the elite.

Since McConkey took over last month, Ballinamallard have been a different team. In his six games in charge they have earned nine points - under Gavin Dykes they amassed 10 points in 30 matches.

Experienced and shrewd, McConkey insists there is still much to do starting away to Ards.

"We have focused on one match at a time and tried to absorb as much as information as possible about our opponents for that challenge," he said.

"Once you give the players every bit of detail you have got to make sure that we focus on our strengths, and when we get those two things together we are a test for any side.

"We definitely cannot take the foot off the pedal but we know it is a nice feeling to be going down the hill rather than fighting to go up it all the time. I feel there is a little bit of acceleration.

"You only needed to be at Ferney Park on Tuesday night because the place was absolutely bouncing. We had great support from across the county. That really pleased me.

"Those are images I've held dear since Ballinamallard have been in the top flight of the Irish League, watching us against teams like Linfield, Glentoran and Cliftonville with the people of Fermanagh behind us, especially on a floodlit night when our ground is so special.

"For youngsters they couldn't help be influenced by it and therefore encouraged that they want to do more. We mustn't let that go because it can affect the whole county."

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