Cork proves City too far for Glentoran
They came, they saw, they almost conquered, but in the end Cork City proved to be just one eircom League club too many for Glentoran in the Setanta Sports Cup.
The Glens went in front early in Saturday’s final - just like they did against St Pat’s and Drogheda United in the earlier stages of the competition - but City were an entirely different proposition
There was no way the east Belfast men were going to be able to survive an onslaught the like of which was thrown at them in the second half at Turner’s Cross.
And so they returned north yesterday with no extra baggage and perhaps thoughts of what might have been.
However, skipper for the night Colin Nixon preferred to concentrate on the positives rather than worry about their failure to become All-Ireland champions.
“To be honest all we can do is hold our hands up and say we were beaten by a better team,” he said.
“We had a good go at it, give them a game in the first half but they were just too strong for us in the second half and they were deserved winners.
“They are a good team, probably the strongest we have played in terms of physical size and they were different in their style of play than St Pat’s or Drogheda.
“We probably angered them a bit by scoring early and I think we did well to take them to half time but we allowed them back in too early and from then on we were always going to be up against it.
“But we have earned the right to hold our heads up high after what we have achieved in this competition this season.
“It may have taken us a while but I think we have finally made our mark and people know that when they play us in the future they are going to get a game.
“We beat two of their best teams this year and we’ll come back stronger again.”
Nixon couldn’t put his finger on why this season had been so different for the Glens in the competition, but he firmly believes that they have laid a marker down for what they want next time around.
“It has been a great experience for us,” he said. “We didn’t want to be coming away from here just thinking ‘ well, we did well to get here.’
“We came here to win and we tried to win, it was just beyond us this time unfortunately but who knows, maybe we can push on next year and better that.
“Fair play to Alan (McDonald), throughout the competition, after the split, he picked a team that he felt would win games and he deserves credit for getting us this far.
“I think we have a better squad than in previous years, in terms of size at least and maybe that’s the reason why we have made the step up.
“Now though, we can’t sit around and live off the fact that we got to an All-Ireland final - we have to show that we are one of the biggest clubs on this island and make sure that we are consistently qualifying for the latter stages of this competition.
“This run has given us a big boost and hopefully the buzz that is around the club at the minute will carry us through the league campaign too.”