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Lurgan stunned as Blythe hands in resignation

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Moving on: Gary Blythe said his decision was for the best

Moving on: Gary Blythe said his decision was for the best

Moving on: Gary Blythe said his decision was for the best

Lurgan are still not out of relegation trouble and have an Irish Cup quarter final tie next month followed by their Irish Hockey League campaign in March.

It appears that Blythe believed his position had become untenable leaving him with no alternative but to step down.

"I came to the decision that I was being undermined so I felt for the team to move on, it had to be without me," he said in a statement.

"I had great times at Lurgan and I'm a bit upset that I couldn't see the season through, but I feel it is best for all concerned."

Lurgan Hockey Club was given a copy of the statement and an opportunity to reply but said they would not be making any comment.

Blythe took over from current Pegasus assistant coach Ali McNeill at the start of the 2012/13 season and steered Lurgan to their best-ever finish in the Ulster Premier League.

They qualified for the Irish Hockey League after finishing in third place after failing to retain their place in the all Ireland competition a year earlier.

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In doing so, they secured a rare win over current champions Pegasus, who were beaten 4-1 at Upper Malone last January before going on to lift their 15th Premier League title in 16 years.

Qualification for the IHL is retrospective so Lurgan will be joining the three other Ulster representatives in the round robin stages which take place in March.

Before that, Lurgan face an Irish Senior Cup quarter final tie with the Ulster Elks on February 1 at Jordanstown.

Lurgan have been ever present in the Ulster Premier League since securing promotion in 2007 after a rapid rise through the ranks.

This season they have been hit by the loss of several members of last season's squad, including Lucy McKee, who hit 27 goals in 2012/13.

Twins Natalie and Serena Barr are on hockey scholarships in the United States while Irish u-18 defender Hannah Grieve signed for Pegasus in the close season.


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