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Boss Mick McDermott ready for another close tie against Newry City in Glentoran’s roller-coaster run


Pressure on : Mick McDermott says Newry will be well prepared for their cup tie against Glentoran. Credit: INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Pressure on : Mick McDermott says Newry will be well prepared for their cup tie against Glentoran. Credit: INPHO/Jonathan Porter

©INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Pressure on : Mick McDermott says Newry will be well prepared for their cup tie against Glentoran. Credit: INPHO/Jonathan Porter

Glentoran boss Mick McDermott doesn’t buy into the theory that today’s Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup tie with Newry City at the BetMcLean Oval lightens the pressure on his boys, who are pushing to win the League title for the first time since 2009.

The east Belfast side, now firmly established as one of local football’s big hitters since the takeover of new owner Ali Pour, may be in a three-way battle with rivals Linfield and Cliftonville at the top of the table, but McDermott also has the Irish Cup high on his agenda.

Glentoran did have their hands on the famous trophy two years ago, following an extra-time win over Ballymena United in the Final, but only 500 fans were permitted to congregate in the vast Windsor Park arena because of Covid restrictions.

McDermott believes today’s clash with Darren Mullen’s Championship side is every bit as crucial as any League game.

“With Newry coming to The Oval, the pressure will be on both clubs to reach the semi-final of the Irish Cup,” states McDermott. “It will be a massive game for both sides.

“We treat every game the same and give every opponent the same respect.

“It’s a Cup tie and we have had some belters over the last couple years. We had penalties against Portadown; at tight game at Queen’s University (3-2) and nail-biting 3-2 win at Dergview.

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“Newry are at the top of the Championship for a reason, we know they will be well drilled. I know Darren Mullen from my coaching courses, he is a good coach and good manager, he’ll have them well prepared.”

The Glens go into the game in the best possible shape, on the back of an impressive 4-2 win over Glenavon at Mourneview Park last weekend when hotshot striker Conor McMenamin bagged his second hat-trick for the club.

“To score the goals he did, showed what a top striker Conor is,” purred McDermott. “He had to work hard for the first one. Jay (Donnelly) did well with a little back heel, Robbie (McDaid) probably should have scored, but when it came to Conor, there was always going to be one outcome.

“He was fortunate for his second, but it shows if you cross the ball into good areas, it can pay dividends – it ended in the back of the net. His third goal was a class finish, typical Conor Mac.

“Everyone was urging Michael (O’Connor) to run the ball into the corner, but he picked out Conor, and what a finish. He is now on 17 goals this season, which is great, but I think there are more to come.

“It was also great to get Jay back on the score sheet again, it was a super effort from him that got us back on level terms. Jay has been quiet for a week or two by his own standards, but Conor stepped up at Mourneview.”

McDermott admits his squad is being utilised to the full at the moment.

He added: “We were depleted to a certain extent last week... we were down Paddy McClean, Joe Crowe, Marcus Kane, Luke McCullough, while Sean Murray was ill.

“Willie Garrett hadn’t played a lot of minutes this season and it was Darren Cole’s first game. We couldn’t expect a top performance from either of them. But they did a job for us.

“We asked the boys to step up and, in the second half, they did that. But like so many previous weeks, it took something to light a fire under us by going behind again.

“The same happened against Cliftonville, Crusaders, Linfield and Coleraine. It seems like we have to concede a goal to get us going, but it shows there is character and belief in the group.

“It’s still tight at the top, which is exciting for everyone and I think it will be like that until the end of the campaign, but our total focus now is on the Cup tie.”

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