Belfast Telegraph

Reds go top as Blues are Plum duffed

 

Big Two joy: Glentoran goal scorers Hrvoje Plum (left) and Elvio van Overbeek celebrate
Big Two joy: Glentoran goal scorers Hrvoje Plum (left) and Elvio van Overbeek celebrate
Cliftonville hero Conor McMenamin

By Graham Luney

Mick McDermott believes Glentoran back in business after a stunning 3-0 win over Linfield at The Oval yesterday.

A Hrvoje Plum double and Elvio van Overbeek's opener rattled champions Linfield and stretched the Glens' unbeaten run to 11.

McDermott's heroes are fourth in the Premiership table and only three points behind new leaders Cliftonville who knocked the Blues off top spot with a 2-1 win at Crusaders, their first Boxing Day victory at Seaview in 10 years.

Crusaders scored in the second minute through David Cushley but Cliftonville fought back to win thanks to two goals by Conor McMenamin.

The result, in front of a sell out crowd at The Oval, will bring the Glens more into the title conversation but while McDermott is keen to dismiss that talk, he recognises the east Belfast side are firmly heading in the right direction.

"Yes, it's nice to beat our big rivals on Boxing Day," said McDermott. "Every league needs a good rivalry.

"That rivalry had probably gone in recent years because of Glentoran's financial problems.

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"People say the league needs a strong Glentoran, but they say that for a reason. It's fantastic that we can have this 'on-stage' show and compete with Linfield again.

"We are all here - I'm talking about every team - to make this Irish League stronger and the league that it should be.

"We all want to see a thriving League."

Coleraine are up to third following their 2-0 win over Ballymena United.

Although the Glens are keeping pace with the top sides, McDermott is keen to keep a lid on expectations.

“It’s nice to get a win on derby day, but at the end of the day it’s only three points,” said McDermott.

“There will be no loose talk in our dressing room.

“To be honest, we don’t get too high in victory and too low in defeat.

“We prepare for the big games the way we prepare for the smaller matches.

“It’s simple, we prepare for every game the same.

“It’s all down to the belief and the players have bought into it.”

Linfield manager David Healy felt his side lacked a ruthless touch on the big occasion.

“I’m disappointed,” stated Northern Ireland’s record goalscorer.

“I don’t think the scoreline reflects how we played.

“I thought we created numerous chances and we just didn’t take them. I’m not disappointed with the level of performance, just that we didn’t get the goals at the right time.

“The good thing is we have a chance to bounce back, and that comes quickly against Coleraine on Saturday.”

At Seaview, Conor McMenamin’s double gave Cliftonville a massive win.

Reds chief Paddy McLaughlin said: “Conor has been a key player for us since I took over at Cliftonville.

“We missed him when he was out earlier in the season but he has that touch of class that not too many other players in the Irish League have. We had to work really hard for our win today but we knew that would be the case.”

The Bannsiders beat Ballymena United 2-0 at Ballycastle Road courtesy of goals from Josh Carson and Jamie Glackin.

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney said: “I thought today we looked right back at it and the solid Coleraine of September, October and November.”

Bottom club Warrenpoint Town pulled off a 1-0 win away to Institute, while Glenavon beat Dungannon Swifts 5-0 and Larne were held to a 0-0 draw by Carrick Rangers.

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