Ryan Curran completed his first 90 minutes in a Ballinamallard shirt on Friday evening, two months after signing from Finn Harps.
The 22 year old striker was signed in January as a replacement for Adam Lecky who departed for Australia, but his early Ballinamallard career has been plagued by a persistent ankle injury and after nine weeks he is still waiting for his first goal.
Ryan is hopeful that with a full match finally under his belt he can start to show the Ferney Park fans what he can produce on the pitch.
“From a personal point of view I want to get a few goals and put in a few performances,” he said.
“It has been a bit stop start so far. When I signed I had a slight injury and I played and made it worse. Then when I came back it did the same thing again.
“I was speaking to Gavin and the physio last week and we took a bit of a chance against Ards and luckily I got through it and didn’t do any extra damage. I was probably only going to play 60 or 70 minutes the other night but I ended up playing 90 minutes because a few boys got injured and I had to stay on.
“Hopefully now after playing 90 minutes I am past the worst of it, although I still have a lot of fitness to catch up on.
“It’s not nice going to matches and to training and not being able to get out there, so I want to get playing as many games as possible and scoring as many goals as possible.”
Curran previously played his football at Derry City and Finn Harps, but a career change saw him move to Belfast with work. The switch made travelling for Friday night League of Ireland matches difficult to commit to, and he opted to move north of the border.
Gavin Dykes had worked with him in the past and it was that connection that persuaded Curran to turn down the advances of others and agree to make the move to Ballinamallard.
“I got on well with Gavin when he was our assistant and I knew him growing up with the underage teams so he gave me a ring,” he explained.
“There were a few other clubs in the North that were on to me as well but I decided that I would go and work with him because he can get the best out of me, whereas other managers who were chatting to me probably didn’t know me as well.”
Ryan’s current contract only takes him through to the end of the current season, but he hopes to extend that if all goes well.
“I’ve signed until the end of the season mainly because I wanted to see how the work situation was,” he explained.
“I am living and working in Belfast so I wanted to see how that worked out, but it’s been pretty good so far and Gavin has been very good about it. In terms of the new contract I have an offer there for next year if I want it, so I will sit down with Gavin at the end of the season and see what the story is then.”
Although he has not been able to make the impact he had hoped for so far, Ryan has been impressed with the standard of football in the Premier League and is confident he can help his new club climb the table.
“Before I signed Gavin was telling me that it was a great bunch of lads, and as soon as I came in they made me feel very welcome straight away,” he said.
“The squad is not that big, but there is plenty of quality even though it is limited in numbers and I couldn’t say a bad word about anyone. I think we are in a bit of a false position in the league.
“After just about staying up last season I think Gavin has been doing really well, and hopefully we can make sure we stay in the league and then build on that, because there is definitely some quality within the dressing room. It’s just about trying to get that out every week.”
“I think the league is definitely quite competitive,” he continued.
“A lot of people might think the league in the South is a lot better but just from the wee snippets I have played so far it is 100 miles an hour and it’s a fast league.
“There are a lot of different styles but most teams play 4-4-2 whereas in the south they play 4-3-3. There is definitely quality players within the league and they are very, very good.”
The Ards defeat on Friday was a setback in their bid to move up the league table, but with seven league games remaining, Ryan reckons there is still time to put together a strong run-in to the campaign.
“The next two games against Crusaders and Linfield are obviously big and then we go into the spilt and we want to win as many games as possible,” he said.
“Ards was a poor enough result. Playing in the game it seemed that it was there to be won, but we made one or two silly mistakes and never really recovered.
“It was one of those games before hand we thought we should have won, but we didn’t really show up. We have to play them once more though so hopefully we can get one back on them,” he concluded.