Friday 11th August
Kick Off 7.45pm
The big games come thick and fast as we entertain last season’s Champions Larne to the Bet McLean Oval in our first home game in the Sports Direct Premiership.
Champions Larne have responded to winning their maiden Premiership crown by undergoing a restructuring of their squad, with owner Kenny Bruce and manager Tiernan Lynch hoping to build upon that success in the new campaign. Amongst seven new arrivals the best known quantity is left back Levi Ives who arrived recently after a protracted departure from Cliftonville. Other local based arrivals are promising talents in former Ballymena United defender Craig Farquhar and winger Corey Smith from Dungannon Swifts. There are also three arrivals from England in goalkeeper Aidan Dowling from Blackburn Rovers, defender Ali Omar from Torquay United and former Newcastle United U23 forward Isaac Westendorf. The most recent move is perhaps the most interesting, though; 19-year-old Mexican Central Defender Jaziel Orozco arriving on loan from MLS club Real Salt Lake.
Lynch has moved ten players on over the summer, primarily squad players and youngsters loaned out to gain experience. The most high profile departure is that of our new signing Faud Sule who exited Inver Park after a hugely successful five year spell, while midfielder Andrew Mitchell and defender Albert Watson have joined east Antrim rivals Carrick Rangers and defender Graham Kelly was snapped up by Coleraine.
Larne’s opening game of the season produced stunning entertainment for the neutral, but they were left stunned as Dungannon Swifts turned around a 4-1 deficit after 84 minutes to earn a shock 4-4 draw at Inver Park on Monday night.
The two league fixtures between the sides at the Oval last season could not have been more contrasting from a Glentoran perspective. Firstly a superb 4-0 victory at the end of October - inspired by a brilliant individual performance by two goal Conor McMenamin - continued an impressive unbeaten start to the campaign that had powered us to the top of the Premiership table. The second meeting in mid-January, however, brought a 1-0 defeat as Lee Bonis’ header just past the hour mark inflicted a fifth consecutive league defeat and effectively ended our title challenge in Mick McDermott’s final game as Glentoran manager.
Warren Feeney: “Saturday at Mourneview was a battle, but you always know the first game of the season is going to be tough. But we got the result in front of a massive travelling support and I was delighted with that. The key thing in that match was that we kept going and going, right until the 99th minute when Jay got his goal. That’s the sort of fitness, determination and mentality our supporters expect to see from a Glentoran team and so do I. We had to play a couple of lads who maybe weren’t completely ready for it but they played their part fully as did everyone else we used on the day. Mentality is a massive issue for any quad that wants to be successful.
"There was a lot of talk around Glenavon being a bogey team for us because of what happened last year, but I said to the boys 'we're a new animal'. Our mentality needs to reflect that we know the demands here are massive and that we know we have to meet them. We showed at Mourneview that we’re up for that as we kept going and going until we got the win. The fans appreciated that.
"For Friday’s game, despite their result on Monday night, Larne are the champions coming here and we’ll respect that and their achievement last season. But it’s a good game for us and with a big home crowd behind us like the travelling one was at Mourneview we’ll want to put on a show for them. It’ll be a good game, a challenging game but one we’ll go into full of confidence, looking to ensure we get the right result”.
The remaining tickets for tomorrow evening’s game can be purchased online from this website.
Tomorrow night’s match sponsor is Castore