Belfast Telegraph

Institute won't be daunted by trip to face us, warns O'Rourke

Jarlath O'Rourke
Jarlath O'Rourke

By Alex Mills

Crusaders defender Jarlath O'Rourke believes Institute will travel to Seaview with no fear.

The 24-year-old emerged as the goalscoring hero in Tuesday night's League Cup win over Ballymena United, hitting the winner merely 60 seconds before the end of extra-time.

It was the former Dungannon Swifts player's first goal since making a summer move - and he admits it's one he'll cherish.

O'Rourke's last-gasp effort not only booked Stephen Baxter's boys a place in the last-four but earned them their first win over the Sky Blues in three attempts.

Now O'Rourke insists the Shore Road team must maintain the winning trend against an Institute side that has improved enormously since the arrival of new boss Sean Connor.

"They (Institute) may be second bottom but they have lost only one of their last six games," said the defender. "They got a great point at Larne last week and the players have responded to a new manager. In many ways, they'll be coming to us with no fear.

"It's already been proved, teams in the bottom six are capable of taking points off the top half - we've seen it many times this season.

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"You just can't afford to take any game for granted, you have to tick them off as they come.

"There is nothing easy in this league, every game is so competitive. The way it is set up, every team will drop points.

"Our aim is to put a run together in the league and gather a bit of momentum. There will be three or four clubs up there (at the top) at the end of the season.

"The way things are shaping up, Coleraine, Linfield and Cliftonville won't be far away - we must make sure we are up there with them."

O'Rourke picked the perfect moment to pinch his first goal for the Crues.

"I had more energy towards the end of the game which was strange," he said. "I felt the game was there to be won and our energy levels were better.

"We were still haunted by the penalty kick defeat by Ballymena a few weeks back (in the Shield), so we didn't want to go through that again."

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