‘Glentoran Football Club is back – and we are here to stay!’
That was the confident prediction of Jordan Stewart after the Glens lifted the Marie Curie Irish Cup on Saturday.
David Scullion’s 54th-minute goal was enough to clinch the showpiece clash at The Oval – and pocket the east Belfast club in the region of £170,000 through prize money and European qualification.
Scullion played a neat interchange with Stewart before firing an unstoppable drive past David Miskelly to clinch the blue riband trophy.
It was the defining moment in an attritional final in east Belfast, and came less than a minute after the Glens almost gifted Portadown a goal of their own.
Willie Garrett’s errant back pass was pounced on by Michael Gault, but as the Ports midfielder ran past Garrett he appeared to be impeded before tumbling to the ground.
Referee Ross Dunlop waved play to leave Gault thumping the sodden surface in disbelief.
And less than 60 seconds later Scullion struck the fatal blow.
The goal earned the Glens a second Irish Cup in three years, and scoop a massive cash bonus.
And fledgling star Stewart believes Eddie Patterson’s side will be a major force next season and beyond.
“Eddie has done fantastic. He has done brilliantly well with all the lads,” Stewart said.
“He always has your best intentions at heart. He is a top man and you have to give him credit.
“A lot of people have been quick to write Eddie off, and the team. But today we have proved a point.
“Glentoran Football Club is back – and we are here to stay.
“Glentoran is a massive club – you saw that today with over 5,000 fans in The Oval.
“We are one of the top two clubs in this country, and to be playing for one of the top two clubs is amazing.
“I know there have been financial problems, but this set of players is ready to put Glentoran back where we belong. The next couple of years we will be a team to look out for. We want to be challenging for titles.
“Next season might be too soon for that, but if we keep building then anything can happen.”
Saturday’s final was almost a year to the day that Stewart’s grandfather Phil Scott passed away.
Scott plied his trade as an inside forward with Lisburn Distillery and Linfield in the 1960s and early ‘70s.
He won a league title with Distillery in 1963 and became a household figure with Linfield where he scored 220 goals in 400 games.
Scott also scored twice in a 2-1 win against Ballymena United in the 1970 Irish Cup final, and remains Linfield’s joint top scorer in European competition with five goals.
“It was an emotional day,” Stewart said.
“You just sacrifice everything to win the trophy – you don’t care if you play well. You don’t care who scores the winner. Or if it is an own goal that wins it. You just want that gold medal.
“So it is unbelievable, and this season has been unbelievable.
“This tops it off. Everyone deserves this, not least the fans. Everyone has been pulling in the same direction and the future is bright.”