Saturday 16 September
Kick off 3.00pm
Dungannon Swifts are visitors to the Bet McLean Oval on Saturday.
Both home games with Dungannon last season resulted in home wins. In November we were level at 1-1 with 22 minutes to go, after Gerardo Bruno had equalised an early Jay Donnelly opener. But two late goals from the in-form Conor McMenamin saw the Glens home. The January meeting was a much more straightforward affair as a hat trick from Niall McGinn against his old club, a brace from Shay McCartan and an own goal gave Glentoran our most comprehensive win of the season at 6-0.
Dungannon’s biggest surprise of the close season was the return of Rodney McAree as boss of his hometown club after five successful months at the Bet McLean Oval, ending in European qualification. The Swifts had some intense transfer deadline activity with the arrival of ex-Glens midfielder Gael Bigiramana as a free agent and of former Cliftonville forward Thomas Maguire from Larne. In a busy window overall, McAree added a number of players including Chris Hegarty (Crusaders), Ethan Devine (Linfield – loan), Conor Mitchell (Warrenpoint Town) and former Glentoran U20s player Matthew Lusty on loan from Larne.
Swifts are currently sitting 10th in the Sports Direct Premiership. Theirs was the most high-profile game of the opening weekend sure to their late three goal comeback to draw 4-4 with Larne at Inver Park. They also drew 2-2 at Coleraine before getting their first win last week, 3-1 over struggling Glenavon.
Warren Feeney: “The win at Newry last week was comfortable in the end but Newry put it up to us very well, particularly in the first half, and I didn’t think we handled that as well as I’d expect. Losing Luke so early was also a blow as he’s been outstanding since I came in but, despite having to shift Moko, Singo and Bobby around after Aaron Wightman’s injury, we settled well and got three good points out of it. The wide forwards Niall and Daire were both involved in all four of our goals which was very encouraging.
"For Saturday’s match with Dungannon, I have a lot of respect for Rodney and I know how well he is respected around the Oval, especially after the great job he did here last season. He’s strengthened well over the summer and I think they’re coming here much stronger than last season. They also had a good boost with their win last week over Glenavon. They have a lot of energy and no fear, so we know we’ll be in for a game today. We’re looking forward to it and are totally focussed on this match.
"On the player front, we’re down to the bare bones in one or two areas of the pitch and that wasn’t helped by losing the two boys during last week’s match. So today it’s a matter of seeing who we can get out on the pitch in those difficult positions, but one thing I can guarantee is that the players we send out will do everything to do themselves and Glentoran proud."