Glentoran lost out in a penalty shoot-out to Larne in tonight's final of the Co Antrim Shield after a relatively uneventful game finished scoreless.
Glentoran made 8 changes to the starting XI following last Saturday's emphatic 5-1 home win against Dungannon Swifts in the Danske Bank Premiership with only Rory Browm, Marcus Kane and Chris Gallagher retaining their places.
There were few clear cut opportunities in the first half. Larne were awarded a free kick on 14 minutes when referee Kennedy harshly penalised Joe Crowe just outside the area on the Larne right. Martin Donnelly swung the ball into the box but Cameron Stewart did well to clear although he was being impeded. Crowe himself was then felled in the centre circle with Gael Bigirimana taking the set piece. Bigirimana picked out Andrew Mitchell in the box but the big striker's header was well saved by Conor Devlin. Mitchell went close again just after the half hour mark. Skipper Marcus Kane did well on the left and his cross was headed on by Cameron Stewart for Andy Mitchell. This time though his effort went wide.
10 minutes from half time a dangerous cross by Cosgrove was well defended by Jamie McDonagh with Donnelly poised for an effort on goal. Then on 42 minutes Martin Donnelly had an effort on target from just inside the area but Rory Brown saved well.
51 minutes in and Glentoran had another chance to go in front but Andrew Mitchell saw his shot blocked by a couple of Larne defenders. 4 minutes later Gael Bigirimana broke out of defence and fed Cameron Stewart who forced a corner off Albert Watson. From the set piece the ball was cleared to Mal Smith, who had an excellent game at right back. Smith tried his luck from 25 yards but although his shot was both powerful and the right height, it flashed wide of the goal. On 60 minutes David McDaid saw his shot deflected into the air and fall kindly for Martin Donnelly. Donnelly's header looked goalbound but Rory Brown did really well to keep it out.
Mick McDermott made two changes shortly after that and one of them, Jay Donnelly almost broke the deadlock within a minute of coming on but Devlin saved his low drive at the near post. Moments later Larne substitute Jeff Hughes went for goal from distance but again Rory Brown was equal to it and turned the ball behind for a corner. With 10 minutes left Glentoran had a huge shout for a penalty when Gael Bigirimana's corner struck the arm of a Larne defender. The Glentoran players to a man appealed for the spot kick but Kennedy waved their appeals away. Where's VAR when you really need it? In the closing minutes the Glens had one more chance when Bigirimana's free kick forund the head of Robbie McDaid but Glentoran's top scorer just failed to get a proper connection on the ball and Devlin was able to keep it out.
The game went to a penalty shoot-out and was tied at 3-3 before Larne's Jeff Hughes converted the final spot kick to give the East Antrim side their first senior trophy since 1987. Congratulations to them.
Glentoran: Brown, Smith, Kane (c), Crowe, Cowan, Bigirimana, Gallagher, McDonagh (McDaid 60), R. Donnelly, Stewart (J. Donnelly 60) & Mitchell (McClean 74)
Footnote: Glentoran's Keith Cowan was awarded 'Man of the Match'