Glentoran finished the 2014/15 Danske Bank Premiership campaign with victory at home to Cliftonville in an encounter that broadly possessed a pre-season friendly feel to it, with both clubs having their final league positions confirmed though of course for the Glens there was the small matter of cup final places up for grabs.
With a minutes silence held prior to kick off to remember the Glentoran fans sadly no longer with us, the game started in fairly timid fashion as both sides held possession in midfield however on 20 minutes the Reds perhaps did open the scoring - but the goal wasn't given! Joe Gormley fired past Elliott Morris and the ball slammed the crossbar, bounced down and hit the post with replays suggesting that it may have crossed the line, though ultimately proved inconclusive.
This early scare seemed to kickstart the east Belfast outfit into life as both Curtis Allen and Fra McCaffery saw efforts well saved by Peter Cherrie, before the ensuing corner saw a huge goalmouth scramble after Calum Birney's initial header was again pushed away by the Cliftonville shot-stopper. Nonetheless, the Irish Cup finalists did take the lead on the stroke of half time after a good move down the left found Allen and his header was turned home by McCaffery.
The second half was much quieter than the first with the inevitable friendly-feel coming in what was a dead rubber league game. It wasn't until the 72nd minute that another real opportunity came about as Birney rose highest at a corner kick, but the big center-half's header was comfortable enough for Cherrie. Five minutes later and Jordan Stewart saw a certain goal blocked by a defender before Barry Holland smashed a follow-up into another Reds' player. Cliftonville finally began to exert some influence on the game at this point with Gormley, McMurray and Knowles all seeing efforts saved by Morris.
That saw the end of the game and league season with Glentoran ending in sixth position on 58 points, one position and one point less than last campaign. However, twelve months ago we didn't have an Irish Cup Final this morning and the Oval will be rocking in a week's time. Here's hoping that we can add another trophy to our cabinet against Portadown with 5,320 Glenmen backing the wee team to victory!
Photographs by Thomas Sewell
Highlights on BBC Sport NI HERE
Glentoran: Morris (capt), Holland, Birney, Garrett, Kane, Henderson, McAlorum, McCaffrey, Gordon, Stewart & Allen.
Subs: Nelson for Henderson (60), Scullion for McCaffrey (74) and Addis for Garrett (87).
Unused subs: Hogg and McCullough.
Little Lily's Bistron 'Man of the Match' Barry Holland