Belfast Telegraph

Five things we learned from the weekend's Irish League action

It was another exciting weekend of Irish League football, with 19 goals scored across the six matches. But what more do we know about how the season could pan out?

1. There’s life in the old Roy yet

What a guy Roy Carroll is, still pulling off great saves at the age of 73. With regard to shot-stopping and ability, the Fermanagh man is arguably Linfield’s greatest ever goalkeeper. Everyone was stunned by his wonderful double save to deny Robbie McDaid and Curtis Allen but we shouldn’t be surprised anymore —  we’ve seen it all before. It’s still great to see someone with Carroll’s vast experience at club and international level retain the passion for the game and his will to win at the age of 39 – he turns 40 on September 30, and Linfield better start baking that cake!

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In it together: Roy Carroll salutes the fans at Windsor Park. Photo: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

2. Glentoran have new lease of life

Did we expect the Glens to turn up at Windsor Park and hammer the Blues 3-0 or 4-0? No we didn’t, but we did hope they would be competitive and give the champions a few headaches. They were the better side in the first half, despite trailing 1-0, and with a ruthless streak in attack, they would have taken at least a point. But this is a new team and the early signs are they are a hungry group of players better equipped to challenge top six sides.

3. Ballinamallard are in need of a lift (and it might not come immediately)

Crusaders showed no mercy against Ballinamallard United and the statistics don’t make pretty reading for the Fermanagh side. Eighteen goals conceded in six matches and no wins to celebrate. But hey, it’s not all doom and gloom, they go to Linfield on Saturday!

4. Coleraine have real cutting edge

Darren McCauley and Josh Carson are on fire for the Bannsiders and what about Jamie McGonigle making his 100th appearance at the age of 21. Ards found them too hot to handle but there isn’t a team in the Premiership who would relish taking on Oran Kearney’s side at the moment.

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Control: Darren McCauley is congratulated after making it 2-0 on Saturday

5. Braniff can inspire Sky Blues

If Kevin Braniff can keep producing performances like the one that tortured Warrenpoint Town then the Braidmen should be excited about the months ahead. Manager David Jeffrey will be hoping the former Poradown ace can keep asserting on authority on matches. When Braniff is on song, he is one of the best players in the league.

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