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'There will be many more trophies': Glentoran boss Mick McDermott looks ahead to era of success after Irish Cup victory

 

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Glentoran manager Mick McDermott celebrates Irish Cup success.

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott celebrates Irish Cup success.

William Cherry/Presseye

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott celebrates Irish Cup success.

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott says his side's Irish Cup victory is the beginning of a new, trophy-laden era in east Belfast.

The former Iran assistant manager turned down the opportunity to once again link-up with world renowned boss Carlos Queiroz, this time at the Colombian national team, to take over at Glentoran last year.

He was giving up such an accomplished role for nothing and has never hidden his intention to lift the east Belfast club back to the very pinnacle of Irish League football.

Their latest Irish Cup title, the club's 23rd in all, is their first trophy in five years - an unthinkably long stretch for a club as used to winning as this one.

Even worse, it has now been 11 years since the Gibson Cup, presented to the league champions, last resided at the Oval.

You get the impression McDermott isn't keen on letting that run stretch too much longer.

“This is not the end of a season winning the Irish Cup, this is the start of a journey," he told the BBC. "I’m confident there will be many more trophies coming to east Belfast in the coming years.

"I'm feeling relieved more than ecstatic.

“Credit to my players, not just for tonight, but where we've come from. We put a group of men together, they have turned into a team and that team are now Irish Cup champions. I’m really proud of them."

It took Robbie McDaid's 21st goal of the season in the 115th minute to separate the Glens from a dogged Ballymena United side, who were much improved on their 10th place finish in the Premiership.

When the winner arrived, it was thanks to superb work on the left from substitute Ciaran O'Connor and, of course, a typically ruthless finish from ex-Leeds forward McDaid.

“It wasn't one of Robbie's better games, he would admit that but at the end of the day he pops up with important goals," said McDermott.

“I thought Ciaran was outstanding. Overall, Ballymena had us under pressure for long spells and we had to dig deep at times but I thought we started to look more fresh than them in extra-time. That’s what happens when you play two games of 120 minutes each."

The victory also marked welcome joyous scenes for club captain Marcus Kane, who along with partner Aimee endured the loss of baby son Harrie in December.

“I’ve known Marcus’ family for a long, long time," said McDermott. "I’m really proud of him as a captain. He’s an excellent captain but better than that, he’s a great human being. I'm so happy for Marcus and his family. The Glentoran family can be very proud of all those boys tonight."

Belfast Telegraph