SAMMY MORROW reckons it would be an injustice should Institute fail to make a return to the Irish Premiership after suffering last season’s play-off heartbreak against Ballinamallard.
The Drumahoe men have spent two season’s rebuilding in the Championship under Kevin Deery but came so close to returning to the top flight as they lost with the last kick of the game to the Mallards in the promotion play-off last year at Ferney Park.
And now with the club on the brink of securing a play-off with second placed Ballyclare Comrades - the winners to meet the Premiership’s second from bottom club - thoughts at the Riverside club are returning to that hugely disappointing afternoon in Fermanagh last summer.
While experienced striker Morrow wasn’t a part of that last gasp play-off defeat, he feels very much a part of this season’s bid to reach the promotion play-off and he certainly played a key role on Saturday, despite struggling with a calf injury during the week.
Indeed, the former Linfield and Coleraine striker came off the bench in the second half to nod home the vital equaliser in the dying seconds against PSNI, who are attempting to wrestle third spot from ‘Stute’s grasp.
It was Morrow’s second goal for Deery’s charges following his January Transfer Window move to the Riverside but he hopes he can continue to produce the goals which will fire Institute back into the Irish Premiership. And he feels it’s the least the club deserves after losing out 5-4 on aggregate against the Mallards, who managed to retain their top flight status.
I’ve never been a 20 goal a season striker but I’ve always tended to score in big games and scoring important goals at important times in finals and playoffs in the past. Hopefully I can score one or two more and get the boys over the line.Sammy Morrow
“After the way last season ended for the boys with the playoff, you just feel if there’s any justice in football they can go one better this year,” said Morrow.
And while the 32 year-old Limavady man refused to get drawn on his own future with the club, he’s determined to do everything in his power to help the team reach a promotion/relegation playoff with either Portadown or, more likely, Carrick Rangers.
“I’ve had very honest conversations with Kevin (Deery) and we’re just going to take it as it comes. I’m at the wrong side of 30 now,” he smiled. “I’ll know myself when the time is right and if this is going to be my last season, I want to finish it on a high. But if I’m still feeling capable of playing on and my body is keeping me playing then so be it. I’ll sit down at the end of the season and we’ll make that decision.
“I just want to get the next three or four weeks over with, give it everything we can and try and get promoted and then we’ll look back and reflect on how things have went and take it from there.”
Morrow admits he’s ‘never been a 20 goal a season striker’ but he has developed a knack of popping up with important goals throughout his career. And his equaliser on Saturday could prove to be invaluable as it kept PSNI at arm’s length, three points adrift of ‘Stute with three games to go.
“I’m just glad we got back in the game and managed to get a draw which kept the gap to three points between ourselves and them. At this stage of the season every point is crucial and after the split they’re all six pointers, especially when it’s a team who is chasing you. I think it deflated them a little bit. “
With Loughgall visiting Drumahoe this weekend and PSNI travelling to champions, Warrenpoint Town, Morrow is hoping their playoff with Ballyclare is secured with games to spare.
“I’ve never been a 20 goal a season striker but I’ve always tended to score in big games and scoring important goals at important times in finals and playoffs in the past. Hopefully I can score one or two more and get the boys over the line.
“If we take care of Loughgall which won’t be easy and I’m sure Warrenpoint will want to put on a bit of a show in front of their home fans after winning the league so hopefully they do us a favour against PSNI and that will more or less strengthen our position in the playoff.”