Belfast Telegraph

We'll need to keep building on this says, Crues' O'Carroll

Warrenpoint 0-3 Crusaders

By Gareth McCullough

Crusaders striker Diarmuid O'Carroll is enjoying life at his new club after Stephen Baxter's men moved to within two points of the top with a game in hand following their comprehensive 3-0 victory over Warrenpoint Town.

It was a super all-round team performance from the Shore Road men but O'Carroll was the standout, having a hand in the opening two goals for Jordan Owens and Timmy Adamson before blasting home the third himself 11 minutes from time.

It was the former Cliftonville man's fourth league goal of the campaign since his summer move across north Belfast and followed on from his stoppage time equaliser that earned the Crues a point at Dungannon last week and the Kerryman feels his side are coming into form.

"We played well against Coleraine and then had the week's gap and were maybe a bit slack against Dungannon but they played very well, in fairness to them. Stealing a point there nearly felt like a win in the end but if we want to challenge at the top of the league, we need to win these games. We did that from minute one and then we saw it out well in the second half," he said.

"They had a few half-chances as well and I think they're a decent side and will stay up no problem this season. It was a good day for us and hopefully we can build on that now against Institute."

There is fierce competition for places up front at Crusaders with O'Carroll, Owens and Adamson all starting and scoring with the experienced Gary McCutcheon an unused substitute against Warrenpoint and the ex-Glenavon man knows that the pressure is on to perform every week in order just to keep your spot.

"We all know that we could be in one week and out the next," he said. "If you play well, you get playing and if you don't, you'll be dropped and that's fine when you know there is no favouritism. We know that, no matter who it is, if you're poor and someone else comes on and does the business then you'll be out.

"I was delighted with the goal. I've tried to score more and get in the right areas this season. I do a lot of laying off of the ball but it was great to get the goal and it's another one to add to the list."

After two seasons at Solitude where O'Carroll was part of the Cliftonville side that won the Premiership title twice, he was allowed to leave for the Crues despite the Reds losing Liam Boyce to Scottish Premiership club Ross County.

After Saturday's performance, it looks like Cliftonville's loss has very much been the Crues' gain but, while O'Carroll enjoyed his time with Tommy Breslin's side immensely, he feels equally at home under Baxter's stewardship.

"In fairness, I think Bressy had his eye on someone else to replace my role in the team and then he was looking to keep hold of Boycey," he explained. "That person went somewhere else in the end. I played a good role from the bench, was fit and got a lot of games last year and the year before, but I think losing Boycey was a bigger loss.

"It was a big move for me to go but sometimes you've just got to take the punt if you want to play more and challenge yourself as well. It's pushed me on to get fitter and stronger and get in the box more."

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