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Larkin targeting win in his last game as Quins coach

By Michael Sadlier

Long-serving coach Adam Larkin will be stepping down from Belfast Harlequins after Saturday's final All-Ireland League game with Ballymena.

The former Ulster player has served for six years as head coach at Quins and will now part company with the Deramore club following a decidedly poor AIL campaign which saw them finish bottom and exit Division 1B.

Larkin will be hoping to end his tenure on the right note in Saturday's Ulster derby game and though not seeking to find another coaching role, the 42-year-old Australian has not ruled out being involved with another club at some future point.

"You're defined by your results and this year just hasn't been good enough," said Larkin, who informed the club of his decision to step aside ahead of Quins seeking to rebuild for next season in Division 2A.

"I've had six seasons at Deramore and now seems a good time for change.

"I've given the club room to do that and I wish them all the best moving forward."

Quins have endured a miserable AIL campaign which has resulted in the injury-hit club only winning twice ahead of Saturday's now meaningless meeting with Ballymena.

Despite beating Old Wesley in their penultimate home game, Quins made their exit from the top flight with two games remaining. Further misery came when fellow strugglers UL Bohemians tanked them 34-0 two weeks ago.

It is believed that the new coaching structure, which has yet to be fully confirmed, is likely to be drawn from within the club.

"Stepping aside is something I have been thinking about since relegation was confirmed," Larkin said.

"At the end of the day I've had a good run. This year has been tough and, simply put, we weren't good enough to maintain our place in 1B. So, it's a good time for the club to try something new."

Quins were promoted in Larkin's first season in charge back in 2010-11 and the following campaign was the highlight as they came close to breaking into 1A before losing a play-off to Old Belvedere.

"Other highlights for me, include the emergence of Ricky Lutton, who went on to a full professional contract via the club game, and also Mark Best's involvement with Ulster," said Larkin.

"Neither came through the academy route and it shows that it is still possible to see talent come through from the clubs."

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