Conor McMenamin set for ‘next level’ but Cliftonville now ‘as strong as anyone’

Conor McMenamin has been tipped to hit ‘the next level’ following his deadline day Glentoran deal.

The high-profile transfer from Cliftonville was described by Glentoran head coach Mick McDermott as ‘arguably the hottest property in the league’.

Former Irish League boss and current Northern Ireland under 16s manager Gerard Lyttle is backing McMenamin, 25, to embrace the Oval move and flourish under a full-tine environment.

“Conor has clearly put a lot of planning into his next career move and enters into full-time football at the right age off the back of an upward trajectory in recent seasons,” said Lyttle. “He has added the consistency and maturity to his game that sets Conor up now for his prime years in full-time football.

Conor McMenamin enjoying training at Glentoran. Pic courtesy of Glentoran FC.

“It is a move that can push Conor on to the next level and Glentoran have been aggressive to get a deal over the line despite strong rival interest.

“In Conor I see a player who is athletic, technically and tactically strong and with a great work ethic and mindset.

“He is almost the complete attacking player and I’ve seen him go up against opponents and there’s a fear factor now when he gets the ball given the damage Conor can cause.”

However, Lyttle also feels the arrival of Paul O’Neill at Solitude from the Glens helps cap a January transfer window that has left Cliftonville with ‘a squad as strong as anyone in the Premiership’.

“I worked with Paul years ago and he is not only a real talent but a player with the drive to push on,” said Lyttle. “From previous conversations with Mick, I know how much he rates Paul and have seen the efforts to get him into the side.

“But Paul is an out-and-out centre forward and Mick clearly could not guarantee him the gametime he needs, so a move to Cliftonville gets the player that opportunity now to become established.

“It would not have been an easy decision for Mick but one that ultimately helps the player.

“It is great business by Cliftonville, especially given Joe Gormley’s injury, so when you look at the work done over January I think Paddy McLaughlin is sitting with a squad as strong as anyone in the Premiership.

“It turned out to be an exciting window that sets us up for a thrilling rest of the season.

“I love how Cliftonville have refused to stand still and let rivals push on but instead Paddy has been backed to the tune of seven signings and really shrewd business.”

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