This is the fifth in a new series where notable Glentoran players of the past name the team they would pick from the players they played alongside during their careers in the Irish League.
5. DARREN LOCKHART
While the outgoing decade has been one of the most challenging in Glentoran’s illustrious history, the previous one was the opposite, as the club won a total fourteen senior trophies. Central to most of that was a tall, battling, goalscoring midfielder and lifelong Glenman, Darren Lockhart.
Locky joined from Crusaders in summer 2000, despite close interest from Linfield. In his seven seasons at the club, Darren played 240 games for the Glens, scoring 55 goals, from either the centre or left-hand side of midfield. He won eleven winners’ medals, including two each of the League Championship and Irish Cup. He also played in two losing Irish Cup finals. So, it was never a dull moment for him.
The bulk of Darren’s Glentoran career was spent under the manager who signed him, Roy Coyle, with a brief spend under Paul Millar before returning for a second spell with his first senior club, Crusaders.
Despite spending just seven seasons at Glentoran, Locky played with some of the greatest players in Glentoran history and under our most successful manager. He and his wife Lisa are regulars at our home games season after season and as Managing Director of Box-It Ireland, he has been a strong business partner of the club. So, who better do provide an insight into one of our strongest decades?
Elliott Morris (Goalkeeper)
One of the all-time great Irish League keepers. Elliott replaced Alan Gough, also a very good goalie, and although he was a young keeper, he was great right from the start as we won the league that first season. One of Glentoran’s all time legends.
Colin Nixon (Right Back)
Easy one to pick as Nicky was right back the whole time I was at the Oval! He really was the most consistent player you could imagine. As he would be quick to tell you himself, he never had a bad game.
Mark Glendenning (Left Back)
This one was also very easy to pick, as I think SAS was the best left back in Irish league history. He and I played together on the Glens’ left side for season or so, I’m sure we were a joy to play against!
Paul Leeman (Centre Back)
Another legend and a great Glenman. Leeper was one of the top men at the club, brilliant on and off pitch and a great leader.
Chris Walker or Gary Smyth (Centre Back)
It’s pretty much impossible to pick between the two of them as they were two of the best left footed central defenders ever to wear a Glens strip. I’ll leave the supporters reading this to decide.
Tim McCann (Right Midfield)
Tim was lethal. He was an old-fashioned winger, who could beat players inside or outside, was a great crosser of the ball and could score goals as well.
Scott Young (Centre Midfield)
It was hard to leave Michael O’Neill out of the team, but for the service he gave to the club I have to go for Scott. He was a great player for us and if it wasn’t for the couple of serious injuries he got, He would never have been out of the team.
Pete Batey (Centre Midfield)
Another leader and winner who gave a lot to the club. When he and Scott played together in centre midfield, they brought so much to the team. They were a great partnership.
Darren Lockhart (Left Midfield)
I should really put Michael O’Neill, Shaun Holmes, or Rory Hamill on the left side but it’s my team and I would have to get a game with these players. Also, it was always a joy to play on same side as SAS and I’d love the chance to do it again.
Darren Armour (Centre Forward)
Darren was probably one of my favourite players. He was so underrated by many people, but he always gave the team everything he had. He was skilful, scored plenty of goals and was a great team player. But he was also mad as a hatter!
Michael Halliday (Centre Forward)
Another great Glenman. Michael was always dependable as a team player and scorer of so many important goals, particularly in big matches. Also, I love his one liners.
What a changing room it would be if these were the lads we had to back up the starting eleven.
Michael O’Neill (Centre Midfield)
Shaun Holmes (Left Midfield or Left Back)
Marty Hunter, (Centre Midfield)
Rory Hamill (Left Midfield)
Andy Smith (Centre Forward)
Darren Fitzgerald (Centre Forward)