GERRY Love has confirmed he is staying on as manager of Tummery Athletic next season following defeat to Enniskillen Rangers in Saturday’s fonaCAB Irish Junior Cup final at Ferney Park.
Under Love the Dromore side retained the Mulhern Cup, finished runners-up to Rangers in the Mercer League before Saturday’s narrow defeat to Michael Kerr’s outfit in the Junior Cup showpiece decider.
Despite Saturday’s disappointment, Love revealed that he has already informed the club that he intended remaining in post for the 2019-20 season.
“I told them last week I was staying on for another year. I’m going to give it another go,” he said.
“If you want to call Saturday a competitive match that’s the first match we lost all season. It’s the only time this year that we haven’t scored a goal.
“As a club I think we have made fantastic strides. Runners up in the league, had it not be for the Fermanagh and Western fixture schedule who knows what may have happened there! In terms of depth of squad and availability I’d agree it’s not there. Looking back I suppose I’m pleased with the year, despite the Junior Cup not going the way it was supposed to go.
“I’ll be giving it another year, definitely. I’ll be looking hard to attract some players to the club. I believe we play an attractive brand of football, better than anyone else within the league.”
On Saturday the Athletic boss didn’t hang around to see the presentations and instead walked straight to the dressing room.
He was criticised in some quarters for his actions but insisted there was a very simple explanation.
Love and many belonging to the Dromore club still feel aggrieved that the final wasn’t played at Windsor Park on the May Day Bank Holiday Monday as originally planned because of a dispute surrounding the playing of an unregistered play by Bessbrook United against Enniskillen Rangers on one of the two semi-finals.
Ultimately Bessbrook, who had won the last-four encounter 3-1, were thrown out and Rangers reinstated to play Athletic more than two months after the semi-finals had taken place. For much of that time Tummery felt they had been kept in the dark and didn’t know who they would be playing or when or if the final would take place at all.
It all left a sour taste and Love claims his players simply lost interest.
“I didn’t stay for the presentation,” he continued.
“I wasn’t going to go up there and stand in front of an organisation that prevented us from playing a football match for five weeks. It was solely down to them.
“That to me was the main reason. The players at Rangers I had no issue with them at all but it’s just the fact that they wanted to be there. Had I been the manager I would not have been there because you did’t deserve to be there! If you win a Junior Cup you win it on merit throughout the season. To be honest with you I didn’t say much in the dugout or on the line on Saturday. I just didn’t have the motivation for it. I never did and I didn’t want to play the game. I told people that.
FULL STORY IN THURSDAY’S ULSTER HERALD