Belfast Telegraph

Barry Holland plans to hang around a little longer

By Graham Luney

Glentoran fans are reflecting on the loss of their talented young winger Jordan Stewart, but they can take comfort from the staying power displayed by elder statesman Barry Holland.

The defender was close to hanging up his boots at the end of last season, but fans of the east Belfast giants can thank two legends of the game from keeping Holland on the domestic stage.

After lifting the Irish Cup and completing his collection of domestic honours following extraordinary success at Cliftonville, the right-back was very tempted to walk off into the sunset a contented man, but a few words of advice from retired heroes changed his mind.

Just when the curtain looked like coming down on his career the 31-year-old was warned not to stop by his former team-mate, Cliftonville legend Chris Scannell and Portadown's famous old boy Brian Strain.

"I had it in my mind that I was going to retire, but after speaking to Brian Strain and Chris Scannell they persuaded me to hang in there as there was much more I could achieve," said the Glens right-back.

"They told me how much I would miss the game and let me know how much I would regret finishing too early.

"I was happy with a two-year deal as it was the right deal for me at this stage of my career.

"After winning the Irish Cup I felt I could leave on a high, but the boys told me to play as long as I can and although we haven't made the best of starts we can enjoy another good season."

While Glens fans are relieved Holland didn't jump ship, it will take the club some time to adjust to life without Jordan Stewart.

The 20-year-old is aiming to hit the ground running at League One side Swindon Town following a £50,000 switch and Holland is confident he can rise to the challenge.

"I think he will do well over there," added Holland.

"Maybe he will need to develop a little more strength, but he has the ability and the training he gets at a full-time professional club should help him improve.

"Jordan was a big influence on the team and we will feel his loss.

"He will be a big miss for us, but there is an opportunity for other players to step up to the mark and Eddie will try to bring some more players in.

"Fra McCaffrey and David Scullion can operate in the hole just behind the top two of Curtis Allen and Conor McMenamin so the manager has options and may look to change formations.

"The club was back in Europe this year and the boys will have learned from that.

"Our aim is to challenge for trophies again."

Allen's double against Warrenpoint Town at The Oval fired the Glens to their first Premiership win of the season on Saturday.

"It was a victory, but it wasn't straightforward," said Holland. "Warrenpoint made it hard for us and we will need to improve."

Patterson's side face a tough trip to Glenavon on Friday night (7.45pm).

Derry City have been drawn at home against Cork City in the quarter-finals of the FAI Cup.

The matches will take place on the weekend of September 13.

Derry won the competition in 2012 and lost out to St Patrick's Athletic in last year's decider.

FAI Cup quarter-finals: Bray Wanderers v Killester Utd; Derry City v Cork City; Lonford Town v Athlone Town or Sheriff YC; Dundalk v Sligo Rovers.

Belfast Telegraph


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