Belfast Telegraph

Ballinamallard poised to consider next step after losing Premiership survival bid

Glentoran 1-3 Ballinamallard United

By Stuart McKinley

Harry McConkey is set to meet with the Ballinamallard United board this week before making a decision over whether or not he will be tasked with leading the club's challenge to make a quickfire return to the Danske Bank Premiership.

Whoever is placed in permanent charge at Ferney Park, McConkey believes there will be a major drive both on and off the pitch to immediately restore top-flight football to Fermanagh.

After taking temporary charge in mid-March when the Mallards were seven points adrift at the bottom of the table, McConkey sparked a revival in the final eight games of the campaign and, after beating Glentoran 3-1 on the final day of the season, ultimately the difference between survival and relegation to the Bluefin Sport Championship was only four goals after finishing level on points with Carrick Rangers.

There is a fear around the club that players who have had a taste of Premiership football will want to continue performing at that level and the squad could break up, meaning a rebuild for the future.

"My own situation with the club was that I would come into the club until the 28th April and then we would talk after that," said McConkey.

"I can't really talk to players when I don't know about myself. And I can't comment on that until I have conversations with the powers that be at the club.

"I would think there will definitely be a hunger to get back up because we have tasted it and will want more of it. That's what I feel the club should be doing."

A brace from Sean Noble - the first a looping header when he got in behind a static Glens defence on 14 minutes before being set up for a six-yard box tap-in on 73 minutes - gave the Mallards some hope of survival but, by that time, relegation rivals Carrick Rangers were 3-1 up at Warrenpoint Town and the goal difference gap was just too big to close.

Even though substitute Joshua McIlwaine made it 3-0 on 83 minutes it was still too little and Calum Birney's late consolation for the Glens had no impact on the eventual outcome.

Belfast Telegraph

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