NIALL McAleer said it was time for him and his club to take stock after Strule United’s relegation was confirmed in a 4-1 defeat to neighbours Strathroy Harps in front of a sizeable crowd at Donnelly’s Holm on Tuesday evening.
Strule needed at least a draw against the treble winners to force a relegation play-off with NFC Kesh however on the night they were second best to a Harps side missing Darren Teague, Benny Boyle and Cathal Taggart among others.
A splendid brace by former Strule player Tommy Murphy and goals by Marty Flanagan (pen) and Patrick Nugent condemned the hosts to Division Two after just one season in the top flight.
McAleer admitted the damage had been done long before Tuesday evening’s final league game.
“The damage was done months ago,” he said.
“You make it difficult for yourself when you’re left playing Strathroy in the final game of the season.
“We probably threw it away a few weeks ago. We were 1-0 up against Kesh with 10 minutes to go and were beaten 2-1 and then conceded an equaliser against Magheraveely in the 95th minute.
“Take a point out of each of those games would have made all the difference. It’s our own fault.
“And there were other games I can look back on. Down here (Donnelly’s Holm) we battered Enniskillen Santos but drew with them 1-1, drew with Kesh here 1-1 and lost a poor game against Killen, there are so many games to look back on. The ironic thing is we drew with Enniskillen Rangers on the opening day of the season.
“The last few weeks things looked up but tonight it just wasn’t there. I don’t know what it is whether it was just a lack of belief.
“Losing had become a habit for us, that’s the height of it. The league table doesn’t lie.”
FULL INTERVIEW IN TODAY’S ULSTER HERALD
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