Glentoran FC

The Official website of Glentoran Football Club / Pride of East Belfast 



Match Preview: Glentoran v Ballymena United

Thu, 21/03/2024 - 22:05

Saturday 23rd  March

Kick Off 3.00pm

On Saturday we play game number 33 and the last game before this season’s split in the  Sports Direct Premiership. We face 11th placed Ballymena United at the Bet McLean Oval.

Having shown signs of a revival by recording back-to-back victories over the Christmas period, 2024 has so far seen Ballymena United continue to struggle at the foot of the Premiership table. They come into this game on a run of 4 successive league defeats and having collected just 1 point from their last 8 league matches. They also exited the Irish Cup  in the Sixth Round at the beginning of February, so all focus is on staying ahead of bottom side Newry City; with Barry Gray’s team having narrowed the gap to just 2 points as the teams prepare to embark upon the end of season league split in April.

It has been a difficult first season in management for Jim Ervin, and he won’t relish the memories of United’s previous visit to the Oval this campaign back in November. The Glens raced into a 4-0 lead at half time thanks to goals from Aidan Wilson, Junior (2) and James Singleton and David Fisher added a 5th early in the second period before United’s misery was compounded by a straight red card for midfielder Donal Rocks.  United’s last win at the Oval was in March 2021, with defenders Tony Kane and Ross Redman netting a goal in each half to secure a surprise 2-0 victory.

Young forward Noah Stewart has been United’s top scorer this season with 6 goals, but he has missed out on the last 2 matches. Former Glens players Stephen McCullough and Kym Nelson missed last week’s defeat to Carrick through suspension and midfielder Rocks was also absent after being substituted in the previous game against Crusaders.  while veteran defender Colin Coates remains out long term.

Declan Devine, in the lead up to his first game as Glens Manager, said: “I want to say what a tremendous honour it is to be asked to manage Glentoran. As a former Glens player it isn’t an honour I take lightly as I had 2 great years here in a very good Glentoran squad so I fully understand the standards we need to set here and the expectations of the supporters. Walking back into the Oval immediately brought back so many great memories of the top teammates here and of the great matches we had here. Also so many familiar faces in the support who came over to welcome me at Dungannon last week.

There’s still a lot to achieve this season so I can guarantee that I will work tirelessly with the players and coaching team to make sure we have a positive run to give everyone around the club the lift they so richly deserve. We have a very high standard of player here but they’ll need to be at their best over the next few weeks to deliver what we all want. You have to believe and I absolutely believe we can deliver, starting today.

I enjoyed last week’s game at Dungannon. There were some very good moments and the team was very well set up by John Gregg and the other coaches in a way that got things off to a very good start. Although we were never in any real danger I still felt we could have been more ruthless at times and won more comfortably. But a 3-0 result at a place like Stangmore Park is always something we’d be happy with.

The Irish League is a very strong and competitive one now and on Saturday we’re under no illusions that Ballymena will fight for every ball as they’re in a situation where every point will be as valuable to them as it will to us as they’ll want to make sure they stay ahead of Newry City by the end of the season. But we’ll be on the front foot right from the start, as we were at Dungannon.

It’s vital our players learn to enjoy playing at the Oval in front of our great support. I loved playing here and I know no one looked forward to coming here to play against us. I’ve been emphasising that to the players this week and they’ve responded very positively.”

Tickets for this game can be purchased HERE from the club website.


  • The Board of Directors remind supporters that under no circumstance is anyone permitted to bring flares, fireworks or any other sort of pyrotechnic equipment into the Bet McLean Oval at any time. These are highly dangerous to other supporters and potentially to players. Any breach of this rule will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Persons breaking this rule will receive a lifetime ban from the Bet McLean Oval and will be reported to the police.
  • We strongly request that supporters respect the rights of the local residents by parking well away from housefronts in the immediate locality. There is plenty of available parking at the Holywood Arches Heath Centre.
  • Photography by JOHNNY CALDWELL