Institute manager Kevin Deery paid tribute to his players after having their Irish Premier Division dreams snatched from them by an injury time winner from Ballinamallard’s Steve Feeney on Wednesday night.
Feeney’s 95th-minute goal earned Ballinamallard a 3-3 draw and a 5-4 aggregate win to finally end a Promotion/Relegation play-off fiasco which had left both clubs in limbo for several weeks.
We are trying our best for what is essentially only the love of the game and to be treated how we have been is not a nice feeling.Kevin Deery
It was a heart-breaking end to the saga for ‘Stute after they dominated the second leg with goals from Jamie Dunne, Gareth Brown and a superb Shane McGinty shot seeming to send Institute into the top flight. That was until Feeney forced the ball over the line from a last ditch corner.
An obviously disappointed Deery said the manner of the defeat made the entire episode more difficult to swallow.
“We are working as hard as the next club to do well in this game,” explained the ‘Stute boss. “We are trying our best for what is essentially only the love of the game and to be treated how we have been is not a nice feeling.
“For your players to give such a good account of themselves and dominate the game, albeit we conceded a couple of poor goals, but in my eyes we have been the best team throughout the year in that division. It was just a farce how it ended.
“It has been very stressful, I won’t lie. You are trying to tell players there is a game on, then it is postponed; back on again and these players are not getting paid a penny. It was a nightmare situation and to lose makes it all the more difficult to accept.”
Deery now faces a race against time to try and get preparation underway for the new season with a number of his players already having talked to other clubs.
“Last week we tried to get things starting in terms of talking to players and we are working very hard to improve things at the club. We ran things on a shoestring last season and it will be tight again this season but I feel we need to reward the players in some manner.
“That’s what we intend to do as a club. Obviously there are players that have talked to other clubs but most have enjoyed what we have done this year at Institute so things are positive from that point but just at the moment everyone is bitterly disappointed,” he added.