Jay Donnelly netted a hattrick as the Glens won comfortably at Milltown in today's Danske Bank Premiership game. It was a dominant performance by Glentoran from start to finish and the only surprise was that it took 24 minutes to break the deadlock.
In the first minute of the contest, a long ball forward from Paddy McClean sent Conor McMenamin clear. His shot though took a deflection which took the pace off it and Conor Mitchell made a comfortable save. Following a period of sustained pressure the Glens did have the ball in the Warrenpoint net but it was ruled. McMenamin outpaced Fra McCaffrey on the left and his cross picked out Jay Donnelly who, in turn, found Shay McCartan. The Glentoran number 7 thought he'd grabbed his first goal for the club but Donnelly was adjudged to have been offside.
Luke McCullough sent a superb bal forward for Robbie McDaid on 13 minutes and he was unlucky to see his powerful shot flash just wide of the post. The Glens continued to pile on the pressure and when a corner from Hrvoje Plum broke to Jay Donnelly a 'Point defender did well to get in the way of his effort. On 19 minutes Shay McCartan went on an amazing run, going past several defenders before firing a shot on goal which Mitchell turned behind for a corner. From the set piece there were further attempts on goal; Jay Donnelly once again having his drive blocked and then Bobby Burns forcing Conor Mitchell into a great save.
The goal Glentoran's play deserved finally arrived on 24 minutes. Conor McMenamin, who gave full back Colm Deasy a torrid time all game, once again broke on the left. His cross was partially cleared but the ball was picked up by Shay McCartan and his cross was headed home by Jay Donnelly from 6 yards out. The home side had their first real attempt on goal on 32 minutes when Kealan Dillon collected a quick throw in before sending a dipping 25-yard effort just over the bar.
The same three Glentoran players who were involved in the opening goal combined once again as we doubled our advantage. Shay McCartan's excellent through ball sent McMenamin away again and his low, driven cross was turned in by Jay Donnelly. Just before the break a long ball from Glens keeper, Aaron McCarey was superbly controlled by Robbie McDaid and he found Shay McCartan who was unlucky to see his drive go just wide.
Halftime: Warrenpoint Town 0-2 Glentoran
On 49 minutes some overly casual play at the back almost let the home side back into the game but Aaron McCarey dealt with Kealan Dillon's weak effort. A minute later a foul on Jay Donnelly provided a 25-yard free kick opportunity for Hrvoje Plum. The Croatian midfielder struck the ball well but Mitchell got across his goal to make a fine save. Either side of the interval Warrenpoint Town picked up 4 yellow cards as referee Tim Marshall, lenient until that stage, ran out of patience. The fnal one of those 4 cautions came when Steven Ball took down Robbie McDaid. There followed a free kick obviously practiced on the training ground with Hrvoje Plum sliding the ball to Jay Donnelly. The Glentoran striker was too quick for Steven Ball and his trip resulted in a penalty being awarded. Jay Donnelly took responsibility and duly completed his hattrick, smashing the ball into the bottom corner of the goal.
The Glens introduced several substitutes with the points virtually secured. Warrenpoint Town almost pulled a goal back on 80 minutes though when Thomas Maguires ball in from the left was flicked goalwards by substitute Alan O'Sullivan. It struck the post though and was hacked clear. In the dying minutes Mitchell saved well with his feet from McMenamin and right on the 90 minutes Gael Bigirimana took a short free kick which Andrew Mitchell fired just over the bar. Somewhat surprisingly we had only 2 minutes of additional time but the outcome had long since been settled.
Photographs by Joe Burns (JB Photography)
Glentoran: McCarey, Marshall, Kane (c), McCullough, McClean, Burns (Clucas 82), McCartan (Bigirimana 64), Plum (R. Donnelly 71), J. Donnelly, McMenamin & McDaid (Mitchell 82)