Duffin: It’s do or die for Loughinisland’s league hopes

By Shaun Casey

LOUGHINISLAND may not be able to win the league on Friday evening, but they can certainly lose it when they take on table-toppers Carryduff away from home.

The league leaders are currently one point clear of Kevin Duffin’s Loughinisland ahead of the final round of fixtures.

“If you take care of your business in the last game then this is sort of the decider, no disrespect to the final game because you still have a bit of work to do,” said Loughinisland boss Duffin.

“But if we’re beat on Friday then that’s the league over for us so it’s do or die for us really but we’re really looking forward to it. There’s a lot of points gathered up between us and Carryduff that would normally win most leagues in most years.

“Fair play to Carryduff, and we’ve had a decent year ourselves that we’ve went toe to toe with them the whole time.”

Loughinisland didn’t expect to be in this position and league success wasn’t a target from the start of the year. But some fine form and a run of good results saw Duffin’s side transformed into genuine title contenders.

“I don’t think we had any aspirations of winning the league, if we’re being honest, at the start of the year. We were just looking to build on last year and last year we were unfortunate not to get into the top four when the league split.

“This year we were just looking to progress. But as the season goes on and you’re performing relatively well, we’ve a decent line up in terms of consistency of the players we can pick from, we’ve just developed a bit of momentum.

“We started the league well and then it’s only when you get maybe seven or eight games into it that you can put yourself into that position and then it becomes a bit more of an achievable target.

“But from last year we were juts looking to progress, whether that meant challenging for a league title of challenging for championships, we were just looking for progress.

“But we are where we are due to our hard work and decent form so that’s a good place to be in and we’re there on merit obviously as well.”

Rory Mason, fresh off the back of a fantastic campaign in the red and black of Down, is a key player for Loughinisland, as is former Mourne midfielder Dan Gordon.

“Dan’s still knocking about,” added Duffin, a former county teammate of Gordon. “He maybe doesn’t have the legs that he had maybe five or ten years ago, there’s no getting away from that and time’s ticking.

“But he’s in fantastic condition and he’s in fantastic shape. I played with him ten or 15 years ago and he was in fantastic shape then but in the time since then he’s got himself into even better shape and he looks after his body well.

“He’s a big asset for us and he’s a good head to have about the place. He’s a good set of hands and he can get you out of trouble in the full-back line and the full-forward line.”

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