Institute's Brendan McLaughlin caps special day with winner at Queen's University
Institute’s Brian Donaghey praised match winner Brendan McLaughlin after the Donegal man had a very eventful Saturday.
The ex-Cockhill Celtic man became a father for the first time when his wife Sevenagh McLaughlin gave birth to a baby boy in the early hours of Saturday morning, but he was adamant that he wanted to play at Queen’s University.
The 27-year-old maintained his recent goalscoring streak as he netted his fifth league goal of the season, much to Donaghey’s delight and he also praised his striker’s willingness to play in Saturday’s match.
“His baby boy was born at 2am on Saturday morning and he had an hour’s sleep. He text me at 8am saying that he wanted to be involved and go to Belfast,” he explained
“After having a chat with him, he told me that he was not allowed to get into the ward because of Covid protocols, so he wanted to play and I was delighted with that.
“He scored the winner and, listen, he probably could have scored another couple of as well, but I was delighted that Benny showed the desire and commitment to play, which is great for the group.”
Donaghey was quick to concede that Queen’s had chances and the Dub pitch meant the game was always end to end, but he also felt that when his side settled down he was confident that they would score.
“It was a wide open game and I’m not going to lie, they should have been 2-0 up after five minutes, as they started really, really strong,” he added.
“It was a massive opportunity for them to close the gap on us and didn’t want us to move further away from them, but I felt after the first 10 minutes, once we settled and started playing I was very happy with how we were both playing and coping.
“The pitch at Queen’s means every game is going to be end to end because it’s so narrow and so short and literally one ball you are under pressure. It’s not like the Brandywell when you have to have three or four passes forward. Twice their goalkeeper kicked the ball out of play from a goal-kick, so that says it all.
“It’s a compact pitch, which we weren’t used to and when we went with a 4-3-3 system which suits us, I felt after that opening 20 minute spell, when we could have been at least one goal down, we really then started to get into the game and deservedly won.
“In fact, at half-time I told the boys to be a wee bit more careful with our final pass in the final third, because I always felt that we would score, so the minute Benny did score, then it was all about keeping a clean-sheet and that’s how it panned out.”
The ex-Cliftonville assistant manager was pleased by his side’s all round defending as a team and he felt they were always comfortable.
“Look Queen’s is a tough place to go to and while it’s a beautiful pitch, which lends itself to good football but it’s still a tough place to get anything, so I’m delighted that we managed to win,” he said.
“I felt whenever we started playing and started playing through the thirds, we looked as if we could have cut them open as our final pass just let us down at times.
“Just before half-time we maybe should have scored one and that’s why at half-time I told them to take a wee bit more in the last third, because I felt we would definitely score in the second half and that was our discussion at half-time, because I was confident that we would score in the second half and then as I said it was all about keeping a clean-sheet.
“They huffed and puffed but didn’t really look like scoring and to be honest I felt we should have scored a few more on the counter-attack, because of our possession, at times they leave us three v. three and four v. four at least five or six times, so we should have done better in those situations.”