Belfast Telegraph

Keenan's worthy opponent

By Graham Luney

After watching Lisburn Distillery striker Andy Waterworth find the back of the Luxembourg net this week, Larne goalkeeper Chris Keenan is determined to foil his Northern Ireland Under-21 team-mate today.

Keenan and Waterworth returned to the province with smiles on their faces after claiming a 2-1 victory in the European U-21 Championship but the duo will be fierce opponents in a vital CIS Cup showdown at New Grosvenor.

The Invermen are three points behind the Whites in Group B but can overhaul Paul Kirk's side and secure the runners-up slot with a victory.

Keenan didn't feature in either of the Under-21 clashes against Germany - when Roy Millar's side lost 3-0 at Mourneview Park - or Luxembourg but he still derived a considerable amount of satisfaction from being involved in the international set-up.

And he warned Waterworth on the trip home that his goalscoring will come to an abrupt halt this afternoon.

"I was pleased to see Andy scoring against Luxembourg but I told him that I will be saving his shots today," said Keenan.

"There was a bit of banter on the way home but we believe we can win this game as we beat Distillery on their own patch last season.

"We have had our fair share of injury problems but Paul Curran has told us that when he was a player at Larne the team was able to win at places like Ballyskeagh.

"It's very important that we are able to pick up points at places like this. Every player is committed to giving 100 per cent effort for the shirt and battling for every point.

"It was a great feeling being away with the Under-21s and I was also talking to Glentoran's Daryl Fordyce about Ballyskeagh and he told me it was a difficult place to get a result but we can take heart from our 3-1 win there last season.

"I think our squad is stronger than the one we had last season and that's a big plus as this is a crucial year with the new invitational league just around the corner."

Curran will check on his long list of walking wounded which includes Padraig Gollogly, Anthony Lagan, Marty Hunter, Andrew Dickson and Marty Verner.

Keenan added: "We have started well in matches but just lacked that killer instinct and ability to finish off teams. We just need to develop that winning mentality because we want to finish in the top half of the league when it gets under way. Distillery will be under pressure as well today so we plan to exploit that."

Belfast Telegraph


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