Glentoran FC

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Ballymacash Rangers 1-6 Glentoran

Sat, 03/02/2024 - 00:51

Glentoran comfortably overcame a potential banana skin in Lisburn this evening to qualify for the Quarter Final of the Clearer Water Irish Cup.

Warren Feeney made a number of changes from last week’s heroics at Seaview giving himself the opportunity to rest Luke McCullough, Aidan Wilson and Fuad Sule with last week’s last gasp hero Bobby Burns and Junior on the bench. Daire O’Connor and Niall McGinn returned to the starting lineup along with skipper Marcus Kane, Jay Donnelly and Shay McCartan. Ollie Webber kept his place in goal and there was the welcome sight of Aaron Wightman and Harry Murphy returning to the bench.

In what was to prove a feisty game ultimately yielding no fewer than 12 yellow cards (8 for the home side and 4 for Glentoran), the Glens got off to the perfect start after 7 minute when after a move involving Seanan Clucas and David Fisher, Shay McCartan was on hand to cleanly finish off from a low cross by Daire O’Connor.

‘Cash had a good effort on goal after 25 minutes but were foiled by a typically committed clearance from Paddy McClean. However just after that incident the Glens doubled their lead through Niall McGinn. And a very special goal it was as McGinn, just inside the left-hand side off the box, hit an unstoppable right foot shot that beat a fairly packed defence and gave Bam Neeson in the Ballymacash goal no chance.

Ten minutes later McGinn was involved again as he quickly and cleverly took a right hand sided free kick low into the box where it was met by a diving Marcus Kane. A fitting return on what was our legendary skipper’s 399th game for the club in his twelfth season here.

On 40 minutes the Glens moved out of sight. David Fisher nodded on a Rhys Marshall long ball to an inrushing Seanan Clucas. Clucas was then felled by the onrushing Neeson as he closed in on goal. There was no evident malice in the challenge but a penalty was swiftly awarded and the Glens midfielder was down for a period. The in-form David Fisher comfortably converted the penalty for his tenth goal of his debut season and his sixth in the last 4 games.

Half Time: Ballymacash Rangers 0-4 Glentoran

Warren Feeney made three half time changes with Bobby Burns and Josh Kelly coming on in midfield and Charlie Lindsay given his fist game time since his arrival on loan, four years and four months after making his Glentoran debut as a 15-year-old.

Burns was involved very quickly, being floored as he made a left wing run. But he recovered to play a prominent role in our second half performance. Virtually immediately the Glens struck for the fifth time. This time Lindsay sent Johnny Russell away on the left and the rapidly maturing left back sent over a marvellous cross met by Daire O’Connor at the far post for his own ninth goal in his first season at the club.

On 57 minutes Charlie Lindsay nearly had a debut goal but his great effort from a probing Josh Kelly pass cannoned off the crossbar. A minute later former Glens striker Carl McComb pulled one back for the home side when he sidefooted home from close range from a Jack Smith cross.

The Glens finished the scoring with 13 minutes left. Aaron Wightman – on as a replacement for Rhys Marshall – won the ball inside the ‘Cash penalty area, turned, beat his defender and passed to Bobby Burns who made no mistake from five yards.

We nearly had another one in the dying seconds as Shay McCartan had an excellent run down the right. His shot was about to cross the line but an offside Jay Donnelly touched it on its way in.

So another good win tonight. Probably the most pleasing thing for the manager was the evidence of our growing strength in depth demonstrated by the second half contributions of subs Lindsay, Kelly and Wightman.

On we go to the quarter final.

Full Time: Ballymacash Rangers 1-6 Glentoran

Glentoran: Webber, Marshall (Wightman 72), Russell, Kane (c), McClean (Murphy 72), Clucas (Kelly 46), McGinn (Burns 46) O’Connor, McCartan, J Donnelly & Fisher (Lindsay 46)

Subs (Not used): L Donnelly, Junior

Photography by PACEMAKER