Premier League preparation for Larne as Champions League journey begins with clear end goal

A picture of Larne first team coach Gary Haveron
-Credit: (Image: David Cavan)


Larne warmed up for their Champions League qualifying tie with RFS with a training session at Crystal Palace.

The Irish Premiership champions have forged a strong relationship with the Premier League outfit in recent seasons. The Invermen were delighted to be able to avail of the Eagles facilities as they stopped over in London before their onward journey to Riga on Monday.

It's key preparation for Larne as they bid to hit the ground running in Europe this season starting with RFS on Wednesday. First team coach Gary Haveron said reaching the group stages would be a "game-changer" for Irish League clubs, but he insisted they would not be underestimating the challenge in front of them.

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“It can be a game-changer for Irish League clubs if a team can make the group stages,” said Haveron. “We want to take that step and set our standards really high. We believe we are more than capable.

"It’s very difficult for the Irish League sides who are out of season, but we have had a few games. This team (RFS) are well into their campaign and full of confidence, while we are finding our feet and trying to be physically right.

“We never underestimate anyone. You recognise the strength of the teams across Europe, and the Latvian side we are facing are sitting comfortably at the top of their League and they are winning games.

"They are a really top outfit, so we have a lot to do. We have to go out there and keep the tie alive for the return leg at Inver Park. We missed out on Champions League football at Inver last year, and it’s unbelievable to have it in 2024.

“They will not fancy coming to our place if the tie is alive. It’s a big ask for us, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. There is no point in entering the competition if you think you have no chance of winning a game or two.”

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