Belfast Telegraph

Glentoran are favourites but Larne can cause an Oval shock, says Lynch

Glentoran v Larne, BetMcLean Cup Second Round: The Oval, Tonight, 7.45pm

By Steven Beacom

Tiernan Lynch rejects any suggestion that his Larne team are favourites for tonight's Bet McLean League Cup clash against Glentoran at The Oval.

It is without doubt the tie of the second round, and what makes it even more intriguing is that Larne boss Lynch was previously a well respected coach at Glentoran under Eddie Patterson when the east Belfast club last won silverware.

That was in 2015 when the Glens lifted the Irish Cup two years after Patterson had led them to success in the same competition.

Glentoran, with Ronnie McFall at the head of a management structure including Kieran Harding and Oval legends Gary Smyth and Paul Leeman, have made it clear they want to end their trophy drought this season, with the League Cup a prime target.

With a promising start to the season, there is a sense that the club is on the up.

It's been the same at Larne since Purplebricks multi-millionaire Kenny Bruce took control and began financing major deals on and off the pitch.

Lynch is well aware the football world in Northern Ireland expects Larne to be playing in the top flight next season and is determined to deliver it.

The Inver Park men are progressing nicely in the league and with the players they have recruited, such as former Northern Ireland ace Jeff Hughes, some people involved in the game see them as favourites tonight.

Cup kings: Tiernan Lynch (front left) celebrates Glentoran’s Irish Cup win in 2015

"For me Glentoran are favourites. We are fourth in the Championship and they are fourth in the Irish Premiership so that speaks for itself," said Lynch, who watched Glentoran's 2-1 win over Dungannon on Saturday.

"We will go to The Oval savouring the chance to play against a top flight team and I think our players will enjoy the challenge of that.

"In the Championship everyone is out to stop us and we have to learn to deal with that. In a game like this against Glentoran our team will look forward to showing what we are all about.

"I want my players to embrace this experience and enjoy it. These are the types of big games we want to be involved in as a football club.

"Everyone knows our aim is to win promotion to the Premiership but it would be great for us if we got good Cup runs going too, like when we reached last season's Irish Cup semi-finals.

"Having watched Glentoran at the weekend I thought they were workmanlike, battled well for each other and got the job done. They have made a good start to the season and have quality players in their side. We know what John McGuigan is capable of and Curtis Allen too. If he gets a chance he is going to score.

"We showed great character and determination on Friday night to get a win at Loughgall late on and we will need that against Glentoran.

"I'm really looking forward to the game at The Oval where I enjoyed some good times as coach.

"Yes, there were tough moments, and financially the club were going through some difficult periods, but under Eddie we won the Irish Cup in 2013 and 2015. They were great occasions for the club and the fans."

Lynch speaks in glowing terms of what Bruce has done for Larne. He is a young manager who wants to bring an identity and playing style to the football team that the supporters can be proud of.

He said: "What Kenny has delivered for Larne is exceptional. The people of Larne can see what we are trying to build and our players are buying into it. We are all determined to make the club successful and I'll work as hard as possible to achieve that."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph