Belfast Telegraph

The Lowry battle to Glentoran ending an eight year wait: Five talking points from Saturday's Irish League games

Coleraine midfielder Stephen Lowry closed the gap to his brother Philip with his brace on Saturday afternoon.
Coleraine midfielder Stephen Lowry closed the gap to his brother Philip with his brace on Saturday afternoon.
Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

It was another eventful day in the Danske Bank Premiership, but just what were the key takeaway points?

Here's five of note:

1. Stephen breathes life into the Lowry goal battle

Coleraine may be top of the table but it has been a tough season for influential midfielder Stephen Lowry in one respect; he was getting stuffed in the goal battle with brother Philip until this afternoon.

The Crusaders Lowry has had a profitable campaign in front of goal, with six to his name.

The tussle burst into life in the final weekend of August, when both bagged a brace; Stephen against Glenavon on the Friday night and Philip responding against Dungannon the following afternoon.

That put Philip 4-2 ahead for the season and a further two goals in the ensuing weeks threatened to bring an early end to the competition as Stephen went on a goalless run.

However, the rivalry is alive and well after Stephen's two-goal haul to help Coleraine to their win over Dungannon on Saturday afternoon.

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Oran Kearney's words after the game, too, will be music to his ears.

"Stevie would be renowned early in his career for getting forward and scoring goals and maybe recently has played slightly deeper," the boss said on Radio Ulster. "We've been trying this season to get him higher up and more involved in that type of play, which he enjoys. He's got undoubted quality and he's a good finisher."

Stephen 4-6 Philip

The battle continues.

2. Waterworth's still Mr Reliable for Linfield

Thanks to the summer signing of Shayne Lavery, Linfield's Mr Go-To Goal Getter has found himself a little out of the loop. A hamstring injury for the new star man (don't worry Blues fans, he's hoping to be back for the Dundalk double-header next weekend) allowed Waterworth in to make only his sixth league start of the season against Carrick.

It was vital to take the chance and, unsurprisingly, he did just that with the opening goal of the game.

Despite being pushed out of centre-stage this season, it was his ninth goal of the campaign, trailing Lavery by only three in the club's scoring charts.

"Any striker that tells you they're happy to play a bit-part role is telling lies, I can assure you," he said.

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Andy Waterworth netted his ninth goal of the season against Carrick.

3. Crusaders fail to complete a top six clean sweep

It was top six v bottom six in the Danske Bank Premiership and it was almost a clean sweep for the fancied teams.

First placed Coleraine downed eighth place Dungannon 2-0, second placed Cliftonville edged Glenavon 2-1, Linfield beat Carrick 2-0, Glentoran eased past Warrenpoint 4-0 and Larne won 3-0 in Ballymena.

The only surprise was Crusaders slipping to a 1-1 draw at home to Institute. As a result, Stephen Baxter's side fall four points behind front-runners Coleraine while Carrick, picking up their seventh point of the season, are now four ahead of basement side Warrenpoint.

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Institute manager Sean Connor bagged a valuable point at Seaview.

4. Glentoran end eight year consistency gap

Glentoran's 4-0 win at Warrenpoint marked their fourth successive Danske Bank Premiership success. A run of such consistency will be an unusual one for the Glens supporters, who haven't been able to watch four league wins on the trot since October 2011.

The beaten teams back then were Glenavon (3-1), Lisburn Distillery (5-0), Dungannon Swifts (5-0) and Donegal Celtic (4-0).

This time, the wins have come against Carrick Rangers (3-1), Larne (3-2), Ballymena United (3-1) and today's win at Milltown.

It's another rung on the ladder and they're now 10 points clear of seventh placed Ballymena. #TimetoClimb

Robbie McDaid was on target for the Glens

5. An early 50: Warrenpoint's woe continue

Warrenpoint are now four adrift at the foot of the table after another heavy defeat that featured the 50th league goal they've conceded this season.

That was Glentoran's fourth of the afternoon that arrived through Robbie McDaid before the half-time whistle had sounded.

They've conceded 15 goals more than the side with the second-worst defensive record Dungannon and average 3.57 goals let in per game.

If Barry Gray's going to pull off the great escape, that's a stat that's going to have to change pretty drastically.

Barry Gray has his work cut out in his second spell as Warrenpoint manager.

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