Belfast Telegraph

McMenamin c'an seize opportunity at the Glens'

By Graham Luney

Barry Holland believes Glentoran's European adventure will help the club's young players mature into top Irish League talents.

A relatively young and inexperienced Glens side suffered a 4-1 defeat in their first leg Europa League battle with Slovakian side MSK Zilina last week.

Tonight's second leg, which kicks off at 6.30pm, is an opportunity for Eddie Patterson's men to move their pre-season preparations up a gear.

Although Glentoran's Euro dream is hanging by a thread, the rematch should be a great learning experience for players such as striker Conor McMenamin, who scored on his debut at The Oval.

Holland, now one of the few elder statesmen in the Glens dressing room, expects McMenamin to seize the opportunity to become a prolific striker in the Irish League.

The 19-year-old is looking to showcase his talent with the east-Belfast side after failing to make the breakthrough at Linfield.

"I know Conor very well and I grew up beside him in Downpatrick," said Holland.

"I know his dad and used to play football with him.

"He took his goal well in the first leg and could have scored another one but it's important for strikers to find the net as it gives them confidence.

"He's got a lot of quality and potential and he just wasn't given much of a chance at Linfield but hopefully he can make great progress with us."

Former Cliftonville defender Holland knows the Glens are up against it in Slovakia but he says the players are well aware of their responsibilities.

"I was part of the Cliftonville side that beat Dinaburg when my brother (Mark) scored the winner and you don't forget historic moments like that," added Holland.

"It's a great privilege to represent an Irish League club on the European stage and you always want to give a good account of yourselves.

"Although this tie looks to be over it's crucial in terms of our pre-season preparations because there are new players here and young talent as well and come the start of the season they will be tested.

"It was a bad result in the first leg but we gave away three silly goals and you cannot do that at this level."

Glens boss Patterson said: "They are a quality outfit who keep the ball well and their fitness levels are superb. It is a good pre-season workout for us and will help us to build up our fitness and our shape.

"They play a brand of football which we try to play ourselves. They had two deflected goals at The Oval and took their chances, while we missed ours."

Europa League: Stadion MSK Zilina,  MSK Zilinam v Glentoran, 6.30pm, Glentoran trail 4-1 on aggregate.

Belfast Telegraph


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