Belfast Telegraph

Former Glentoran forward Michael Halliday thrilled at Dundela

By Keith Bailie

Dundela striker Michael Halliday may have played in Irish Cup finals and big European games, but he's never been happier than he is right now.

As Dundela prepare to face Crumlin Star in tomorrow (Friday) night's Steel & Sons Cup semi-final, the former Glentoran, Crusaders and Lisburn Distillery forward said he had no regrets about dropping down into intermediate football after 14 years in the top flight.

“It hasn't been tough dropping down the divisions. I think the time was right for me to give the Championship a blast.

“I'm realistic, I'm getting older, and my focus now is just on playing football and enjoying myself. I still think I could play in the Premiership, but I'm enjoying life at Dundela and that's the main thing.

“I always told Mark Snodden (Dundela manager) that I'd give him a year or two at some point and after a difficult spell at Distillery, I knew the time was right.

“I knew quite a few of the Dundela boys already, so it was an easy move to make. The Duns are not a wealthy club, but they're a club who look after their players and it's a good place to be at the moment.”

Reflecting on his lengthy career, the 34-year-old said: “I really enjoyed my time at Crusaders. After my first few seasons with Glentoran, my two years at Seaview was my most enjoyable spell in football.

“But, if I'm being honest, last season at Distillery was tough.

“I've spent my whole career playing for teams who challenged for honours and winning most weeks, so it was hard to adjust to playing for a team that was struggling. It's hard to keep going in those situations, so Dundela has come as a welcome relief from the stresses of last season.”

It's easy to see why Halliday is enjoying his football. The Duns are currently at the top of the Belfast Telegraph Championship and they've scored a remarkable 65 times already this season. On a personal level, Halliday managed a hat-trick in a 6-3 derby win over Harland & Wolff Welders, and he won October's NIFWA BT Sport Championship Player of the Month.

Striker Halliday said: “The big concern at the club during the summer was who would score the goals that Willie Faulkner and Ben Roy got last season.

“At the start of the season we had Owain Beggs and Mark McClelland scoring goals for us, but Owain got injured and Mark moved to Ards to join Willie and Ben.

“The good thing was we were able to bring in Carl McComb on loan from Glentoran and he has helped fill that void. We've been playing good football and scoring lots of goals, so it has been an enjoyable experience for me so far.”

If Dundela can win at Seaview tomorrow (Friday, 7.45pm) then Halliday will have a Christmas Day cup final to look forward to as well.

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