Murnaghan to the fore as Warrenpoint fortunes begin to turn

David Wilson reporting for the Sean McCaffrey Foundation.

Only a few weeks ago, Warrenpoint Town saw themselves at the foot of the NIFL Premiership, staring at relegation after manager Stephen McDonnell being relieved of his duties.

Opportunities in football can sometimes take time to occur. Lorcan Murnaghan, a graduate of the Cavan/Monaghan Emerging Talent Programme and someone who progressed through the levels of the Airtricity sides here in the area, found himself on the fringes of the first team at Warrenpoint. 

Murnaghan has been given his chance under new manager Barry Gray. Gray was a former manager at the Milltown club for 10 years before moving on to take the reins at Belfast club Cliftonville in May 2017. 

However, after being sacked in January 2019, Gray had been on the hunt for a job in the North’s top division. 

With a stalwart of the club returning to the fold, Murnaghan has saw more opportunity. After making the bench in the last number of games, the former Carrick Rovers underage player was deployed at right-wing back in a crucial game at home to Ballymena United.

A backs to the wall performance saw Warrenpoint ran out winners on a scoreline of two goals to one. This victory comes off the back of a previous home win against then table-toppers Coleraine. 

Warrenpoint now are just three points off Institute who currently occupy the relegation play-off spot. With a game on St. Stephens day to come against the Derrymen, there is long way to go in the battle to stay in the top division.

The ‘Point have been helped with that proverbial ‘new manager bounce’, although suffering defeats to Cliftonville, Carrick Rangers, Glentoran and Crusaders, performances have improved being helped with the introduction of Monaghan’s Murnaghan. 

Murnaghan, who is now in his final year, juggles a health and performance science degree in UCD along with travelling to Warrenpoint for training and matches more than four times a week. 

Commitment, desire and an enthusiasm and willingness to develop and learn are the hallmarks of Murnaghan’s fledgling career. 

A tenacious tackler, a willingness to take the ball under pressure with an eye for a killer pass, Murnaghan has developed his game to allow him to be able to play in all positions in a back four or five, whilst also demonstrating the strengths needed to play in midfield also. 

Combining full-time education, a football career and maintaining a part-time job can be difficult to manage at times, however Murnaghan has demonstrated that determination needed to succeed at a high level. 

Next on the agenda for the Donaghmoyne man is solidifying his place in the side. As the NIFL Premiership heads towards its busy Christmas schedule, the ‘Point squad will be tested to its limits as important games away to Dungannon Swifts and at home to Linfield awaits. 

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