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Glentoran are focusing only on our recent good form not title race, claims double hero Donnelly

 

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Take that: Ruaidhri Donnelly hits the back of the Portadown net at The Oval on Saturday

Take that: Ruaidhri Donnelly hits the back of the Portadown net at The Oval on Saturday

Take that: Ruaidhri Donnelly hits the back of the Portadown net at The Oval on Saturday

Glentoran striker Ruaidhri Donnelly refuses to label his team as title contenders - even though they are snapping at the heels of the top two in the Danske Bank Premiership table.

The 29-year-old was back to his best against gutsy Portadown, grabbing two goals as the east-Belfast side made it four wins on the bounce, which inched them closer to second-placed Coleraine.

Donnelly's opener was a goal of the season contender, curling home a shot from the edge of the box. His second was a powerful header, following a pin-point cross from Jamie McDonagh.

Robbie McDaid also grabbed a goal on his return from injury - his 13th of the season and 60th for the club. It was a typical back-post finish, while Andy Mitchell also got in on the scoring stakes, smashing an unstoppable shot past an overworked Gareth Buchanan. It was his first for the club.

Donnelly, prefers to focus on the next game, rather than talk up his team's chances of catching table-topping Linfield.

He said: "We don't really look at the title race... we are taking one game at a time, there is still a lot of football to be played. Our next game is on Tuesday night at Ballymena United.

"There is nothing easy in this league, which means your performances levels must be good in every game. Personally, I feel my performances in recent weeks have improved and I feel myself getting back to full fitness. I'm enjoying my football again.

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"I was happy with my performance, happy with the three points and happy with the goals. The gaffer (Mick McDermott) keeps telling us the harder we work, the more success we'll have on the pitch.

"We have a great group of boys at the club and we are now on a nice little winning run, it's important we keep that going."

Of his goals, Donnelly commented: "For the first one, I was screaming at Caolan (Marron) to play the ball up the line, but he played it inside. I got a bit of luck because the ball hit me in the face and landed perfectly for me. I just placed it in the far corner.

"It was nice to get one with my head for a change for my second. It was an outstanding cross from Jamie, he just hung the ball up for me and as a striker you want to go and attack balls like that.

"We've built up a bit of momentum at the minute with four wins on the trot, your next game is always the hardest one."

Portadown boss Matty Tipton admitted his team had no answer to a slick moving Glentoran side, he describes as 'the best in the league'.

"Sometimes you have to be honest and admit the other team is better than you," said Tipton. "It could have been 4-0 in the first half and it could have been any score they decided at the finish. I think they are a smashing team.

"In my opinion, they are best side in the league. Linfield are at the top of the table, so in theory they are the best, but Glentoran are certainly the most difficult team we have come across.

"They're well organised, fit, they are athletic and they have a good pattern of play which they use to their advantage. We probably had to sacrifice a bit of our own game just to combat that."


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