‘Intermediate Cup is third on the agenda’ - admits ’Stute boss

Institute manager Paul Kee.
Institute manager Paul Kee.

INSTITUTE manager Paul Kee admits that the Intermediate Cup is not high on his list of priorities this season.

The Waterside men, who last year reached the semi-final of the competition before being thrown out because they played an ineligible player, reached the sixth round after they came from behind to defeat Knockbreda on Saturday.

“To be honest, this competition is our third priority,” stated Kee. “The league’s our main aim, the Irish Cup second and the Intermediate is obviously third on the agenda.

“Knockbreda are not a bad side, they’ve only lost one game in the league. They’ve got good momentum going so we had to break their resolve and their spirit and we did that in the second half.”

Kee also admitted there wasn’t any Sir Alex Ferguson style ‘hairdryer’ treatment at half-time as he was always confident his players could up the tempo, which the County Antrim men would not be able to cope with.

“Our players knew they didn’t play well first half and in fairness to Darren McCauley he got us right back into the game in the first 30 seconds of the second half and that set the tone for the rest of the match.

“There wasn’t any harsh words at half-time, we told them what we expected to happen. The players probably didn’t expect Knockbreda to be so good and there was a bit of complacency at times.

“They had a couple of shots but didn’t really trouble us other than that. They play with a high intensity and defended well all over the pitch, particularly in midfield. They pressed us high but I said to the players at half-time, ‘I don’t think they will be able to keep that up’.

“And they died a death second half because they physically couldn’t keep that intensity up and in the end I thought we were worthy of the win.

“In fairness, we have controlled a lot of games this year and I said to the players that if we match their intensity and we play our game, I think we’ll be alright and that proved to be the case.”

The Drumahoe man also conceded that goalkeeper Marty Gallagher probably hasn’t had one of his better days.

“Marty’s (Gallagher) dropped the ball leading to the first goal and the second one the ball’s moved in fairness but another day Marty stops it, but I rate him highly and this was a good opportunity to get him back in. He’s got 90 minutes under his belt.

“We showed more character in the second half. It always gives you a mountain to climb when you give away a couple of goals but it tests your resolve and that got us through as well as our quality.

“Before Walshie (Aaron Walsh) scored, I said that we were going to score. I just had a feeling, we had that kind of momentum going.”