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17 May 2022

Institute rue scholarly lesson from students as late strike gives Queen's basement-battle victory

Institute

Institute boss, Brian Donaghey: "We're just not getting a bit of the rub of the green at the moment."

Institute learned a very harsh lesson from the students of Queen's University as a lapse in concentration ensured the Belfast-based scholars got a gold star in the form of three points.

With the NIFL Championship relegation-battle heating up as the season enters the back strait, points are becoming as rare as Russian gas exports and Institute's relegation worries were increased following a late winner by Queen's hitman Ciaran O'Hare.

Institute could have been two goals in front by then with Mark McFadden and Shaun Leppard both going close.

Two minutes after O'Hare's goal, Brendan McLaughlin thought he had netted only for his effort to be disallowed – a decision that did not pleases Institute boss Brian Donaghey.

He said: “We started rather sloppily and they were on top for most of the first half. The second half was more of a 50-50 game and I couldn't see anyone scoring.

“Then suddenly there's a lapse in concentration at the front post and we concede.

“Two minutes later, we go up and score a perfectly good goal which was disallowed – that's becoming a habit as it's the third one of those we've had in the last five games.

“Brendan McLaughlin got it. The referee told me afterwards that the linesman had his flag up and overruled him. So I said 'I have never heard of a linesman overruling a referee before'.

“The officiating in this league is of such a low standard but I don't think it's their fault at all – it's a problem in the top two leagues to be honest.

“They're getting people to officiate games after being fast-tracked when I don't think they're ready. But listen – it is what it is and it's the same for both teams.

“We're just not getting a bit of the rub of the green at the moment. But listen – we have to dust ourselves down and get on with it. That game has gone and we need to prepare for Saturday's game against Annagh.

The defeat hauls Institute even deeper into the relegation mire – although Donaghey admits that keeping the club up was alwyas the main priority when he arrived.

He added: “I knew we were in trouble from the day I came in. There's been times when it's not looked good after getting a poor run of results.

“We've definitely improved since January – although last Saturday was poor and I'm not going to hide from that as I thought we were past those type of performances.

“The Queen's game just felt like a pre-season friendly as we looked very lethargic for some reason and that's not like us.

“But we've had a chat about it and now there's seven games left for us to keep our Championship status – that was the remit for me coming into this job and that hasn't changed.”

Institute are at home again on Saturday with promotion-chasing Annagh United the visitors at Brandywell.

On paper, this would appear to be a very tough fixture but Donaghey knows that on their day, Institute can give as good as they get.

He continued: “I've always said there's nothing much in this league that separates the top and the bottom. Newry for example got beat last night by Loughall.

“Annagh have gone on a fantastic run – especially away from home – but every team has to be at their absolute maximum to get points in this league.

“With Newry getting beat, Annagh will be seeing this game as an opportunity for themselves to close the gap at the top.

“But we will be looking after ourselves. We played Annagh at the start of the season and drew when we also could have won late on.

“It was a very tight affair and a good game and I'm not expecting anything different when we face them again on Saturday.”

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