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Glentoran to hit the big screen in romantic comedy

Irish League football club Glentoran is soon to figure in a big screen movie.

The script for the romantic comedy has been written and Ian Kennedy of Straight Forward Productions is now putting a cast together in a film about the team he has followed since he was a little boy.

The storyline will centre around the 1913-14 season when Glentoran, against all the odds, went into Europe and returned with the Vienna Cup after winning a major competition against top teams, including Hertha Berlin.

"The Glens qualified for Europe after winning the Irish Cup," says Kennedy, who is still a dedicated Oval supporter.

"They beat everyone in sight on the continent to return with this trophy.

"Everybody thinks the first team from the British Isles to win in Europe was Glasgow Celtic. Wrong - it was Glentoran, the Cock and Hens, from east Belfast."

And the Vienna Cup still sits today in the trophy cabinet at the Oval where the club's chief executive, Stafford Reynolds, has been researching events of that incredible season just before World War I broke out.

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The script for the movie, which will be called The Game Above All - the Glentoran motto - has been written by Damon Quinn, Michael McDowell and Tim McGarry, the team responsible for the hit Give My Head Peace television series.

"It's an amazing story of how these part-time footballers, most of whom worked in the shipyard, went away from home for the first time and returned with a mighty important cup," explains Kennedy.

"The writers have produced a wonderful script and have woven a fictional tale of love and intrigue and romance around the team and their exploits.

"Remember, these young players, like David Lyner, one of the stars, were visiting Europe for the first time in their lives and at a time when a world war was looming. What they achieved was a fairytale. When we heard the facts about the Glens in that memorable season we could hardly take it all in," admits scriptwriter Quinn.

"So we set about adding to the story with Glentoran's approval and we believe we have come up with a romantic comedy every football fan and every film fan will love."

The Straight Forward production is being backed by the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission and shooting will begin on location in the spring.

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