Glentoran boss Alan McDonald has vowed to make the Setanta Sports Cup a greater priority — but only if changes are made to the organising committee.
The east Belfast side had to overcome a series of difficulties since reaching the final of the competition – which they lost on Saturday night after Cork City came from behind to win the All-Ireland tournament.
They had to travel to Cork to take part in the showpiece, then failed to have suspended skipper Paul Leeman’s ban overturned after he was harshly red-carded in the semi-final.
After that, 48-hours before the final, the Setanta Sports Cup organising committee – headed up by former FAI President Milo Corcoran – told the Glens they would have their ticket allocation limited as the ground wasn’t yet ready.
On the pitch, it’s been a little better and the run to the final has given the club a new-found hunger for the cross-border competition and should their be a revamp in how it is run, McDonald says he will do all he can to make sure they have another final to look forward to next year.
“I think for the island of Ireland the basic idea (of the competition) is a good one. If you ask my players they will tell you they have loved pitting their waits against the Eircom clubs.
“If you look at what St Pat’s have done both domestically and in europe, what Drogheda have done at home and abroad – these clubs have come so close to making to the group stages of European competition.
“Look at what Derry City have done as well.
“So for our club to get through to the final and get the kinds of results that we have got this year is a terrific achievement.
“From a football point of view the competition is great but if I am speaking from a Glentoran perspective and a representative if you like of the northern teams then I would say that some changes have to be made because we can’t carry on with the way things are at the minute.
“We haven’t been listened to by the people that matter when we have aired our concerns and we can’t go on like that.
“I was asked early on in the season what my goal for the season was and I told them that it was to do better than last year. That’s progress but I don’t make predictions.
“In pre-season was the Setanta Cup top of our list of priorities? I would have to say no.
“This has been a great bonus for myself, for the players and for Glentoran Football Club.
“But we’ve lifted the bar in a couple of seasons at the club and we will look at our priorities again.”