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Irish League sides would be better off in Europe with a switch to a summer season, insists Larne boss Tiernan Lynch

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Tiernan Lynch favours a move to a summer season

Tiernan Lynch favours a move to a summer season

©INPHO/Declan Roughan

Tiernan Lynch favours a move to a summer season

Larne manager Tiernan Lynch believes the lack of a summer season is damaging Irish League clubs’ European hopes, but he’s still hopeful his side can turn on the style and ease past St Joseph’s of Gibraltar.

The Europa Conference League qualifying opener is finely poised at 0-0 going into tomorrow’s rematch at Inver Park when the Danske Bank Premiership side hope to do the business in front of their own fans.

Larne, who won that play-off final thriller against Glentoran at the BetMcLean Oval, are taking inspiration from their continental exploits last summer when they beat Bala Town and Aarhus to reach the third stage of qualifying last season before falling to Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira in what was their debut in European competition.

The Invermen are still quietly confident they can progress to the next round and a tussle with Slavia Prague but Lynch feels Irish League sides are facing uphill challenges due to a lack of competitive edge.

“I just don’t understand why we don’t have summer football,” said Lynch.

“When I was in Gibraltar I was thinking about bringing new players in, working on new systems and if we had summer football I would have been three months in.

“We would have had pre-season under our belt and we would be 10 games in and able to iron out our creases. We are doing that now in Europe at nearly £200,000 a game and it doesn’t make sense to me.

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“Unfortunately, we aren’t giving ourselves the best chance and we are trying to squeeze out every drop to challenge other nations.

“I know we won a few matches in Europe last year but had we had more games under our belt we could have been even better prepared.

“I would be more confident if we were into our season as that would give us an advantage while other nations and teams are improving.

“We found little to nothing on St Joseph’s with regard to relevant footage and it was difficult preparation for us.

“But we are fortunate to be in Europe and we will give it everything to progress on Thursday.”


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