Belfast Telegraph

New-found confidence is powering Glentoran's comeback wins, says O'Neill

Glentoran 2 Larne 1

Glentoran's Paul O'Neill has three goals this season.
Glentoran's Paul O'Neill has three goals this season.

By Alex Mills

Teenage sensation Paul O'Neill believes the only way is up for fast-improving Glentoran.

Mick McDermott's boys roared to third place in the table with this impressive victory over Larne at the sun-kissed Oval.

Even though they went a goal down when Larne midfielder Jeff Hughes' shot flashed through the gloves of embarrassed Marijan Antolovic on 33 minutes, the gutsy Glens hit back before the interval.

O'Neill displayed great composure and elegance when picked out by the most delightful of crosses from Elvio van Overbeek. His first touch was good, his second sensational, curling the ball around the outstretched boot of Conor Mitchell.

It was left to skipper Marcus Kane to pinch the winner with 16 minutes remaining.

Mitchell, in for the injured Conor Devlin, failed to deal with a throw-in from Conor Pepper and Kane skilfully hooked the ball into the empty net.

On his own strike, 19-year-old O'Neill said: "That was my third goal of the season. It was a great ball in from Elvio and I think Robbie (McDaid) got a touch on it to take it away from the defender.

"There is a new confidence about the club. Had we gone a goal down to any side last year or the year before, we hadn't the ability to come back and win.

"It's different these days, there is a new commitment and passion."

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch admitted he was gutted to leave empty handed.

"It's a ruthless league and the mistakes we got away with last season, we'll not get away with in this environment," he said. "It's a tough, tough league, there is no room for error. The fine margins are the difference in winning and losing in this league.

"It's still very early in the season and we are still in a good place. It would be worse if we were being turned over by teams.

"We'll take this on the chin and look to bounce back from it."

GLENTORAN: Antolovic, Kane, Peers, Herron (Gordon, 81 mins), McDaid, McClean, Pepper, Crowe, O'Neill (Murray, 72 mins), Plum, Overbeek (Frazer, 64 mins). Unused subs: Morris, Stewart, Smith, Duric.

LARNE: Mitchell, Kelly, Watson, McEleney, Sule (McKendry, 90 mins), Randall (Lynch, 53 mins), McDaid, Graham, Cosgrove, Hughes, McMurray (Donnelly, 53 mins). Unused subs: Pauley, Ramsey, Tilney, Andrade.

Referee: Shane Andrews (Ballygowan)

Man of the Match: Marcus Kane

Match Rating: 8/10

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