Belfast Telegraph

Patterson targets Setanta trophy to lift the Glens blues

By Graham Luney

Glentoran manager Eddie Patterson is a fan of the revamped Setanta Sports Cup — and he’ll be an even bigger supporter of the all-Ireland tournament if green, red and black ribbons can be wrapped around the trophy.

The Glens travel to Sligo Rovers tonight for the first leg of a fascinating quarter-final and the east-Belfast side will travel south with renewed optimism and belief after seeing off the challenge of Bray Wanderers in a 7-2 aggregate win in the previous round.

Patterson is no stranger to this competition following his spell in the Cliftonville dugout and he’s well aware that it is now a competition that can restore damaged pride at the Oval.

However, Glentoran aren’t going to be transformed into world beaters overnight and the new man in charge will need time to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each member of his squad. One thing that never changes at the Oval is the demand for silverware and that’s why the Setanta Cup takes on special significance.

Rovers earned a valuable 1-1 draw against Shelbourne in their Airtricity League Premier Division opener at Tolka Park.

“I think the competition is a lot more appealing and better organised than it used to be,” said Patterson. “I think there was a realisation that it needed to be a more knockout format and it was unfair asking Irish League clubs to be hit with heavy fixture demands at the end of the season. The organisers did meet with the managers and it was agreed to change things. I now think the tournament has real value and it’s an opportunity for all the clubs to win silverware.

“After what has happened at Glentoran this season this is a chance for us to win something, but there’s no doubt it’s a tough challenge as you are talking about the best clubs in Ireland.

“I never got the chance to lead Cliftonville against Dundalk in the semi-finals last season but for me it’s been a welcome distraction to league commitments. Sligo are a top quality side, runner-up to Shamrock Rovers in the league last season and retaining the FAI Cup.”

The Glens will be without the injured Jimmy Callagher and Eamonn Murray.

The second leg at the Oval is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20.

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