Sean O’Neill disappointed after poor showing from Crusaders

Cliftonville's Martin Donnelly with Crusaders' Craig McClean
Cliftonville's Martin Donnelly with Crusaders' Craig McClean

Crusaders goalkeeper Sean O’Neill admitted that the men from the Shore Road did not do themselves justice at Solitude on Saturday.

In a turgid WASP Solutions League Cup final the Crues failed only created a handful of chances, while they conceded a string of free-kicks over the course of the scoreless draw.

Reflecting on the game, O’Neill said: “It’s difficult to take but we didn’t deserve to win that game. We didn’t create enough chances and we didn’t play any football.

“I remember us creating one chance in the first half and that was about it. It’s a disappointed changing room, but that’s football.

“You’ll not see a worse game in the Irish League this season, as both teams defended well and cancelled each other out.

“Colin Coates and Paul Leeman were both brilliant. They carried our team into extra time and either of them could have been man of the match, but unfortunately we never looked like scoring.”

O’Neill was honest enough to admit that he was hoping the game would go to penalties, but it was the Reds who claimed the cup, winning 3-2 in the shoot-out.

A disappointed O’Neill said: “It’s heartbreaking to lose on penalties. It’s a toss up and there is always going to be a loser.

“I was hoping for penalties because I never thought we were going to score. They were moving the ball much better than us and we weren’t creating chances.

“I was confident going into the shoot-out. I know Conor Devlin well and we had a bit of craic before the shoot-out, but it’s a bit of a lottery, and we were unfortunate enough to lose.”

O’Neill believes Crusaders’ need to find a cutting edge.

“I never once thought we were going to score during the cup final, which is a massive concern..

“Stephen Baxter gave some other players a game against Crumlin Star and the performance that day was ridiculous.

“Something has crept in. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not good and we’re going to get rid of it.”