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Bailie hat-trick seals Big Two win for Glentoran


Glentoran's Catherine Sheridan with Linfield's Kirsty McGuinness

Glentoran's Catherine Sheridan with Linfield's Kirsty McGuinness

Glentoran's Catherine Sheridan with Linfield's Kirsty McGuinness

Glentoran Belfast United and Crusaders Strikers got the new season off to a flying start with opening day victories.

Glentoran beat fierce rivals Linfield 3-0 at the Oval thanks to a Kelly Bailie hat-trick, while Crusaders triumphed 2-0 over Newbridge Predators at Seaview.

There was an upset with newly promoted Cliftonville winning 1-0 away to Mid-Ulster, while Ballymena United Allstars hammered Fermanagh Mallards 5-0.

The Glens match saw tributes paid to Mary Campbell – mother of ex-Glentoran player Sharon Campbell – who passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Hat-trick star Bailie unsettled the Linfield defence throughout, breaking the deadlock after 20 minutes, followed by a second just before half time.

As the match progressed Linfield became more comfortable on the ball, trying to break down the east Belfast defence on the counter attack.

With Sarah Venny as screener and both Danielle Ennis and Ashley McKee in attacking roles trying to free striker Kirsty McGuinness, they looked threatening at times.

The Glentoran midfield three of Bailie, Gail Macklin and Nadene Caldwell proved strong throughout.

Linfield hit the bar through young international Chelsea Myles.

"Kelly's just quality," said Macklin. "She's an excellent player that reads the game well and makes smart decisions.

"For her second goal especially, to beat a player and finish like she did, just proves her quality.

"We knew we were going to be confronted with a tough game because the Linfield squad has changed so much, as has ours, from last year.

"Ballymena Allstars' new signing, former Crusader Emma Murray, was the star of the show, scoring twice in a 5-0 success away to Fermanagh.

"It was great to start the season on a high," said the 20 year-old.

"I was nervous and excited but after working so hard during pre-season it was fantastic to get two goals on my debut.

"The team worked to the 90- minute mark, so we were definitely worthy of a win. We will start to prepare now to secure the three points against Mid-Ulster."

The young Fermanagh side held on well until Murray slotted home the first goal on the hour.

But heads then dropped and Murray took full advantage, slotting home a second via a free kick from outside the box.

A few minutes later 21-year-old Rachel Fulton and central midfielder Wendy Young (2) added their names to the scoresheet.

Belfast Telegraph