Injury hit Institute missing strike force for Ballinamallard encounter

Only three weeks into the new season and Institute boss Brian Donaghey is already facing a striker crisis ahead of tomorrow’s home clash against Ballinamallard (KO 3pm).

Striker Cathair Friel opened his Institute goalscoring account at Newington on Tuesday.
Striker Cathair Friel opened his Institute goalscoring account at Newington on Tuesday.

With Cormac Burke is still unavailable, both Jack Coyle and Cathair Friel have been side-lined by injury while winger Jamie Dunne is also a major injury doubt.

Boss Brian Donaghey admits he’s a frustrated man but he still believes his young squad can score a positive result against Harry McConkey’s side who are unbeaten after three games despite not yet hitting top form.

United have picked up three points from their opening three games but have only scored once in those games, although impressively they’ve also only conceded a single goal this season.

Regardless of Ballinamallard’s form, Donaghey wants his side to focus on themselves as they look to register their first victory of the campaign.

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“I would say two of the three boys are definitely out, as Saturday looks too soon for them,” insisted Donaghey.

“Ballinamallard have scored one, conceded one, lost none and won none; but they have had a few changes to their squad recently. They’ve lost a few players to Dungannon Swifts and few other clubs, so maybe Harry is in a bit of transition as well.

“Look, at full strength it would have been a game I would have been really looking forward to and even still, at home, we’ll definitely take a lot of positives from our opening three games.

“We’ll hopefully have a few more signings added to the squad and hopefully they’ll be available for Saturday; players like Dylan King from Dungannon Swifts and Matty Walker from Derry City. We’re waiting on clearance for them and I’m also speaking to Dean Brown, who was just released by Coleraine. Listen, it’s not all doom and gloom.

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“Yes, forward men are the ones that change games and we’re missing three of our four forwards. It’s unlucky and some players may have to play slightly out of position on Saturday just to get us through the game.”

The Drumahoe side picked up their first point of the season at Newington on Tuesday night. However, for the second game running, Donaghey felt points were dropped rather than one gained.

’Stute raced into a 3-0 lead at Solitude thanks to goals from Friel, Jamie McCormack and Dunne but the entertaining encounter finished all square after Gary Warwick, Aodhfionn Casey and Francis Rice netted for the Belfast men.

“It’s definitely two points dropped and we dropped points against Annagh last Saturday as well,” he added. “We started like a house on fire at Newington.

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“Cathair Friel, Jamie Dunne and Jamie McCormack were superb and to be honest they couldn’t handle their pace and their direct play.

“We scored three very good goals but unfortunately both Jamie and Cathair had to come off before half-time and we just didn’t have that threat after that. I think if they had stayed on the pitch we probably would have won the game 4-0 or 5-0.

“To be honest we gave away a bad goal. It’s a completely avoidable goal as we gave them an opportunity from the penalty spot, which they took. Had we gone in 3-0 up at half-time I don’t think they come-back, but once it went to 3-1 the next goal was going to be massive and unfortunately for us they got it and scored an equaliser.

“I have to admit at 3-3 I was thinking I would be happy with a point but credit to the boys, once it went to 3-3 we probably dominated the last 20/25 minutes of the game and probably should have won the game, as we had chances.

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“Listen, there are some positives to take from the game but the injury problems are starting to mount. Losing three attackers within two games is definitely a problem and so unlucky.”

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