Champions Cliftonville held at home by Glentoran

.'Cliftonville's Tomas Cosgrove with Glentoran's Stephen McAlorum
.'Cliftonville's Tomas Cosgrove with Glentoran's Stephen McAlorum


Cliftonville kicked off their title defence with a goalless draw against Glentoran at Solitude.

On a day when Commonwealth Games boxing gold medallists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan were paraded in front of the fans, neither team was able to provide a knockout blow in North Belfast.

Glentoran edged the opening half while the champions - who had defender Jamie McGovern sent off near the end - responded in the second but ultimately found Glens goalkeeper Elliott Morris in inspired form.

Glentoran started brightly with Conor Devlin tipping Fra Caffrey’s effort around the post in the second minute.

From the resulting corner Mark Miskimmin blazed a close-range effort high and wide.

Cliftonville had the ball in the back of the net in the 45th minute, but Joe Gormley had strayed offside before finishing off Marty Donnelly’s cross.

Cliftonville emerged with more energy and tempo in the second half and almost forged ahead in the 48th minute.

Captain Eamonn Seydak was the instigator, going on a superb run down the left before cutting back to Barry Johnston, and the midfielder unleashed a right-foot shot that was parried behind by Elliot Morris.

Morris denied Gormley three minutes later with a blocked save, and the Glens keeper clawed away Chris Curran’s curling effort in the 72nd minute.

The Reds had defender McGovern sent off in the 87th minute for a second booking - this time for a foul on David Howland.

In injury time Curran weaved his way to the bye-line but the winger’s low cross was forced away by Morris.

CLIFTONVILLE: Devlin, McGovern , Johnston (Knowles 77), Flynn, Garrett (Curran 64), Donnelly, Seydak, Catney, Winchester (Murray 83), Gormley, Cosgrove.

Subs not used: McMullan, Smyth.

GLENTORAN: Morris, Henderson, Garrett, Addis, McCullough, McAlorum, Nelson (Howland 66), McCaffrey, Stewart, Scullion (McGuigan 60), Miskimmin (McKee 73).

Subs not used: Birney, Kane.

Referee: Raymond Hetherington (Dungannon)