Ronan ‘Olly’ Doherty says he wants to nail down a spot in Institute’s team to aid their bid to stay up in the NIFL Premiership.
‘Stute have taken seven points from their opening four games and face Dungannon Swifts – who have yet to win – at Brandywell on Saturday afternoon.
“I don’t score many and it’s not a big thing, but it was good to get a goal quite early in the season,” Doherty said.
“It was definitely good to get an early one. Assists are the main thing for me now playing in the middle. But I’d been practicing free kicks in training so I stepped up and thought I’d have a go. I was delighted to see it go in.”
Doherty had been previously on the radar of Finn Harps manager Ollie Horgan, but when Paddy McLaughlin came calling with an offer to sign for Institute, following their promotion to the top flight, he couldn’t say no.
He said: “Once I got asked it was a definite ‘yes’ from me. It’s a big step up and it was hard to leave Cockhill, but it’s some set up here. Playing at the Brandywell is brilliant too; it’s probably one of the best pitches in the League.
“Players here are a lot faster and sharper and you have probably two or three touches, max, especially in the middle one the park.”
Institute have beaten Newry and Warrenpoint and drew 2-2 at Coleraine. Indeed, their only blot so far is a hardly-surprising 3-0 loss to Linfield at Windsor Park.
Doherty said: “We’re realistic. Any game against top-half teams, we’re not expected to get anything. Our main thing is results against the teams from the bottom six.
“But we don’t give up at all. Paddy always tells us to go and show what we’re made of. There’s no point holding back and in every game we want to go get a point or three.”
It has been a trying period for Institute, who were forced out of their Drumahoe home after the Riverside Stadium was destroyed by flooding las August, but they rallied to win promotion and are on intent on staying in the Premiership.
Doherty says he has been well prepped from his days at Cockhill.
He said: “You can see it’s a big step, but Cockhill’s training was always very sharp and very good. Players at this level do have an extra wee bit, but Cockhill was so professional too. I noticed that from the minute I went in.
“Gavin (Cullen) takes a lot of that on himself. Even down to wee things like always being on time, it was top notch at Cockhill. Gavin would never had back a player if there’s a chance to go to a senior club and I can always go back there because I left on good terms.”
Doherty is modest as regards his own progression. Having missed the 2-2 stalemate against Coleraine, he returned with a goal on Tuesday and hopes to be in McLaughlin’s plans for Saturday’s big game with Dungannon.
He said: “I had a wee injury that kept me out, but I hope to be back in for Saturday. I just want to try to get a spot in the team and keep it.”Tags: