Belfast Telegraph

Five key questions: Institute boss Paddy McLaughlin looks ahead to the Irish League season

In the run-up to the new campaign, we are asking Irish League personalities five key questions.

Today Steven Beacom talks to Institute manager Paddy McLaughlin who last season guided his team to promotion to the top flight…

Who will be the title challengers in the Irish Premiership?

I think it will be the same as last season, Crusaders and Coleraine. I feel they are well ahead.

Those two will battle it out to win it and the rest are playing for third, fourth and fifth etc.

I can’t see past those two sides for the title.

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Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter (left) and Coleraine manager Oran Kearney (right).

Who is the player to watch out for at your own club Institute?

Going on last season’s form Mickey McCrudden was excellent for us.

He is our captain and he led by example and was the top scorer with 26 goals. He was superb for us.

I don’t like to single any individual out because they were all great when we got promoted but because of his goals he will be a key man for Institute.

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Michael McCrudden won Championship Player of the Year

Who is the player to watch out for at another club?

That’s a tough one because there are so many but I’ll go for Stephen O’Donnell at Coleraine. He is as good a defender as I’ve seen in the Irish League for a long time.

He is a big player for them and ticks all the boxes in what a manager would want in a centre-half and a captain.

He will be one of the top players to look out for this season.

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Coleraine’s Stephen O'Donnell. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

What do you want to see in the Irish League this season?

It would be nice to have good crowds, especially at our own matches.

To have that you need to be playing good football and getting good results and we know how tough that will be.

Overall it would be nice to see more fans coming through the gates because Irish League clubs do try their best with what they have and try to do the right things. It deserves more support.

Our clubs had some good results in Europe this season which shows the quality is there and the bigger the attendances the more players will be inspired to improve.

Sum up what the Irish League means to you in three words?

A roller coaster!

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