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Alan Kernaghan feels like he's making a breakthrough at Oval

Glentoran 1-0 Dungannon Swifts

By Adrian Rutherford

Published 08/08/2016

Net buster: Ciaran Caldwell is mobbed after blasting Glentoran’s winner
Net buster: Ciaran Caldwell is mobbed after blasting Glentoran’s winner

Alan Kernaghan believes he has finally put his own stamp on Glentoran after a summer of change at the Oval.

The 49-year-old, embarking on his first full season at the Glens since replacing Eddie Patterson last November, saw his side kick off their Danske Bank Premiership campaign with a 1-0 win over Dungannon Swifts.

He has been busy in the transfer market, bringing in eight new faces, all of whom were in the squad against Dungannon - including ex-Rangers striker Nacho Novo, who made his debut as a second-half substitute.

Another two of the arrivals were involved in the build-up to Ciaran Caldwell's winner. Eric Foley's forward pass was headed down by Stephen O'Flynn for the ex-Cliftonville midfielder to smash home.

And Kernaghan is pleased with his business in the transfer window. He said: "The summer was good for us in terms of who we wanted and who we went after. We weren't disappointed on too many occasions.

"The board did fantastic in the work they did - they gave me the backing to be able to do it."

Five of the new arrivals were in the starting line-up. Foley, who joined from Galway United, caught the eye with his willingness to shoot, going close twice in the first-half.

He rattled the side-netting from an early free-kick and saw another 30-yard effort flash wide. The goal aside, those were the main incidents in a drab curtain raiser.

Next up for Glentoran is an all-Belfast clash against Cliftonville on Wednesday night. Kernaghan said: "I think we're better than we were last season.

"We go there full of confidence and with three points in the bag.

"We want to go and give another good performance and see what it brings."

Kernaghan believes Cliftonville are one of a clutch of sides capable of challenging for the league title this season.

"There is a sheet of paper between most of the teams," he added. "It really depends on who does the best on the day."

Novo's cameo aside, this was an instantly forgettable 90 minutes. Dungannon boss Rodney McAree was frustrated with his side's lack of punch.

McAree said: "We lost our shape and lost runners once in 90 minutes, and we paid the price for it.

"We didn't do enough going forward. We didn't create enough chances, which was the other disappointing aspect."

GLENTORAN: Morris, Birney, Redman, Smyth, Kane, Addis, Harmon, Foley, Caldwell, O'Flynn, Smith (Novo, 67 mins). Unused subs: Gordon, K Nelson, Ferrin, D Nelson

DUNGANNON: Coleman, Lowe, Armstrong, Hegarty, O'Rourke, Wilson (Douglas, 82 mins), Clucas (Hazley, 84 mins), Harpur (Lavery, 74 mins), Teggart, Glackin, Mitchell. Unused subs: Addis, Fitzpatrick

Referee: Steven Gregg (Ballyclare)

Star watch

Nacho Novo: He is the biggest name to arrive here in years. And 67 minutes into the game, Novo made his first appearance in a Glentoran jersey. There was a loud cheer as the stadium announcer confirmed the former Rangers star's arrival in place of Jonathan Smith. Novo's first touch saw him take a corner which was easily cleared. The ball was played back into his path, but his delivery was cut out. Later, he showed some clever skill to turn past Ally Teggart and send a delivery across goal. His one sight of goal came in stoppage time when he chased down a pass, out-muscled a defender and shot well over.

Belfast Telegraph

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