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Darren Mullen draws inspiration for Newry's senior comeback

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There are no small gains against big players…

Mullen’s traditional pre-season program of transfers, training and tactics was complemented by some special moments.

An exhibition match featuring Liverpool legends and Newry’s selection provided Mullen with the chance to spend time with the much-decorated and highly-regarded Kennedy.

Newry City boss Darren Mullen

The Newry-sponsored film festival, which celebrates football on the big screen, included a documentary on Clough, one of the game’s preeminent outside-the-box thinkers, with McParland as a special guest on the showcase.

A long-time advocate for the pursuit of superiority beyond the boundaries of his own sport, Mullen spent a lot of time reading sports psychology and studying elite athletes like Brady and basketball great Michael Jordan. enjoying

“You see how humble someone like Alan Kennedy was after that exhibition game, who has so many medals but was so generous with his time…that’s the right example. “It’s like chatting with Peter McParland at the kick-off film festival, a legend in Northern Ireland’s 1958 World Cup campaign, but just sitting back and exchanging stories and chatting about football with everyone.” I wanted to

“You never meet so many great footballers and you never miss an opportunity to learn something.

“I also enjoy reading and learning about numbers in other sports and how they handle everything. So I saw the Tom Brady (American football) documentary.”

“Psychology plays a huge role in sports right now.

“Progressing to the Premiership means facing a big and tough season, so we are looking for small advantages and opportunities to gain knowledge.

“We operate with a small number of players and it’s all about trying to maximize their potential…so if you can apply a piece of something from somewhere outside football or someone else, That is wonderful.”

Mullen, of course, will also use experience closer to home in his pursuit of senior survival, given the club’s 2018/19 premiership season’s memories and lessons remain fresh.

“The last time I was in the Premiership, I felt a sense of euphoria after an incredible journey,” Mullen said. “This time, we have experienced that new, premiership experience, plus some encouraging results and performances as a championship club against senior teams.

“Looking at the team, I feel we can offer more pace and youth in attack this time around.

“We don’t have a big budget and this has been testing the transfer window for as long as I can remember, so we have to do things a certain way.

“We’re playing against a team with deeper talent, so in the end it’s all about beating them.

“You can’t get your head around it and complain about finances or anything. You have to accept the benefits.

“This is something we have been working hard on for a long time and returning to top flight football in the Irish League is a great opportunity for everyone at the club.

“Don’t be scared. We’ve worked hard to get to this point, so we’ll have to aim and attack to rattle some cages.

“People will come right away and find out you’ve joined a really good club full of really good people.

“Our crowd has been great in the past and the Newry community really stands by the club.

“The ultimate goal is to be established in the premiership, which brings all sorts of benefits in terms of sponsorship opportunities and player recruitment.

“But we are never looking ahead and for now it’s all about getting ready for the season and the first game.”