Institute: O’Flynn hoping to enter the record books

Crusaders Stephen OFlynn celebrates scoring at Bangor. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye
Crusaders Stephen OFlynn celebrates scoring at Bangor. Picture by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Striker Stephen O’Flynn may write himself into the record books this season.

The ex-Cork City man could become one of a selected few to have claimed the Championship and Premiership titles back to back, if Crusaders manage to claim the big prize this season.

“I’m not too sure if any other player has done winning back to back titles, winning the Championship one season and then the Premiership a year later,” he said.

“But Stephen (Baxter) has been keeping our feet on the ground. He hasn’t let us get carried away with things and he has been playing everything down, which he’s dead right to do.”

O’Flynn hasn’t had much game time since his move to the Shore Road men, but he admits the players in front of him at the minute deserve their place in the starting line-up and he knows when he gets his chance he has to grab it with both hands.

“Things probably couldn’t have gone better for me. Yes, not getting much game time has been frustrating but the boys have been flying,” he said.

“For me our three front players are the best in the league by a stretch. Gavin Whyte, Paul Heatley and Jordan Owens have proved it throughout the season.

“We have won every game bar one match since I have come to Crusaders in January. I have had three run-outs in the Irish Cup ties and to be honest I didn’t do myself justice on Saturday against Carrick Rangers.

“I was disappointed with my performance against Carrick, because when you are given your chance you have to take it and although I got 80 minutes and we won the game, but for my own standards I didn’t do well.”

O’Flynn admits he still has a soft spot for his old club and also backs his former boss Paul Kee.

“Stute is the first result I look out for as soon as I come into the dressing room,” he added.

“I still chat to a lot of the lads and I have made some great friends at Stute and that club has been very good for me.

“The likes of Paul Kee, Bugsy (John Cunningham), Duns (Brian Donaghy), and all the staff were brilliant for me during my time at Stute and while I’m hoping they stay up, I’m obviously hoping we can get the three points on Saturday.

“As I said I would love nothing better than Institute staying up because Paul has been working on a shoe string budget.

“I know there have been a few things said since I left about Paul maybe walking away, which is ludicrous, because if you get someone else in, he’s going to be working on the same budget and to be fair Paul’s psychology I think is very good, especially having the young players wanting to play the right way.

“Last year I went on record saying it was probably the best year of my career. I had never won the league until last year so to win the league was an amazing achievement.

“And if someone had said to me that I would be challenging for a Premiership title, with a team who is top of the table, I wouldn’t have believed them.”