Donegal Celtic hammer Ballymena United
Ballymena United 0 Donegal Celtic 4: Newspapers will, hopefully, be looked at a little more favourably today in west Belfast after Donegal Celtic’s incredible four-goal demolition of Ballymena United on Saturday.
Goals from Andrew Cleary, Stephen McAlorum and two from Paul McVeigh gave the new-boys their first win in the big league and the Hoops were more than happy to have the press pack eating some humble pie.
It was sandwiches that Declan O’Hara was munching on afterwards as he basked in the glory of an upper crust personal display and there must be some pretty good defenders left at Solitude if he was allowed to leave.
He was immense throughout, typifying the fighting spirit of Marty Tabb’s side, but with no small measure of skill and passing in there too, and O’Hara was delighted to prove the doubters wrong.
“I think if you look before the league started every single paper had us relegated without a ball being kicked,” he said.
“I think that’s maybe because we’ve just been promoted to the league, which is understandable, but we know in ourselves that we’re not just here to make up the numbers.
“We’re going to fight for every single point and this is the start of it and we’ve got to build from that.”
Last week’s opening day defeat by Crusaders could have had the Hoops feeling sorry for themselves but that was the last thing on their minds.
“The boys were disappointed after last week’s result, losing 3-1 and giving silly goals away, we spoke about it and today we came out defending for our lives and scored four goals,” added O’Hara.
“We’re a good team, we have a good bunch of young lads, honest boys who’ll work hard for 90 minutes and we showed that because Ballymena didn’t get a sniff because we worked our socks off.
“It’s only three points at the end of the day, we haven’t won anything or secured safety but we’re now looking forward to Glenavon next week which will be another tough game.”
As for Ballymena, where do you begin?
It’s hard not to feel sorry for Roy Walker, buoyed by last week’s gritty display at Windsor Park and seven days on booed off the pitch with calls being made for him to go.
The lot of a Ballymena United manager is not a happy one.
“I came to the game concerned about the very fact that last week had taken place and we were playing a team that was going to scrap,” he admitted.
“I’ve seen it before with our team and I’m embarrassed.
“It’s a disease. I think we lost the game, first and foremost, somewhere in the ether of a mind that disconnects when it comes to these games.
“I am struggling after that. As early as we are in the season, any more performances like that and I would have to question a whole lot of things.
“I told the players today that was a performance that breaks people, that breaks a club, breaks a group up.
“I told them that the people I feel most sorry for are the people on the terraces, last week giving them false hope and cruelly snatching it away.”
As for his own future? Well that’s one to keep a close eye on but when the Showgrounds faithful begin to get restless the moans will only get louder
“I can understand that. That is, and always will be, an occupational hazard and that’s fair.
“The people who pay their money are entitled to say what they say,” admitted Walker.