Mick McDermott in defiant defence of Glentoran project
Manager Mick McDermott saluted the influence of goal hero Jamie McDonagh, who bagged a last-gasp winner to help Glentoran pinch three valuable points at the Oval on Saturday.
An uneventful 90 minutes appeared to be fizzling out scoreless when the former Derry City man struck.
With merely seconds remaining, the 24-year-old seized on a Chris Gallagher pass and his raking 30-yard drive arrowed into the top corner well out of the reach of Cliftonville goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.
There was still time for the Glens to fluff their lines from the penalty spot. Deep into injury time, defender Garry Breen hauled down new boy Conor McMenamin and referee Ian McNabb was perfectly positioned to award the penalty.
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Although Gallagher hit his shot well, McCarey got down low to his right to paw away with a strong hand.
It was a welcome win for the Glens – the first time they had registered three points against a side out of the bottom three.
“It was a fantastic strike by Jamie,” said McDermott. “I was delighted for him...he’s a great competitor, who is really hard on himself.
“He’s has the type of quality to change a game.
“It wouldn’t have been fair had we drawn or lost the game.
“Sometimes football is not fair because we dominated our previous game against Crusaders and lost.
“We played well, just as we have in many games, but not got the results we wanted.
“Things were not going for us, the boys never dropped their heads.”
Although the Glens are still hovering in the bottom six in the Danske Bank Premiership table, McDermott believes it’s only a matter of time before it’s take-off time.
“I know the direction the club is going...I’ve never been worried,” he added. “We’ve been playing well, but we haven’t picked up as many points as we would have liked on the road.
“Up until today (Saturday), Ballymena were the most successful team on the road with nine points.
“We’ve got three...are we happy with that? No - but we are in the mix with the rest of the teams.
“In any league in the world, it’s hard to win away from home against the top teams.
“As opposed to that, since we took over at the Oval, we’ve had 34 home games and lost only three - that’s not a bad return.
“We’ve never been in a panic, I can understand fans...they want results now, but as I’ve said all along, the project is moving in the right direction.
“Last week I read that Cliftonville are now as strong as any team in the league because of their business in the transfer window.
“Apparently, we had a poor transfer window, signing players like Rhys Marshall and Conor McMenamin.
“People are quick to stick the boot in, but I invite them, stick a big boot in – wedge it right in.
“We’ll see at the end of the season where we are and I’ll not forget about the people who stick the boot in.”
Cliftonville chief Paddy McLaughlin reckons his team had their pockets picked right at the finish.
“We only played in phases, which was disappointing because we were excellent on Tuesday night against Coleraine,” he said. “It wasn’t really a great football game...we could have done a lot better.
“I think the effects of Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday has caught up with one or two of our boys.
“We showed signs of tiredness, I still thought we deserved a point...and it would have been a good point – a valuable point against a full-time side.
“It’s well-documented the resources they have.
“The Oval is always going to be a tough place to go.
“So, we are really gutted to be done in the last minute by a brilliant strike from young McDonagh.”
GLENTORAN: Coleing, Kane, McCullough, Gallagher, Donnelly (McDonagh, 67), McDaid (Stewart, 91), McClean, McMenamin, Marron, Plum (O’Connor, 78). Marshall
Subs (not used): Morris, Bigirimana, Gorman, Stewart, Crowe.
CLIFTONVILLE: McCarey, Breen, Harney (O’Connor, 90), R.Curran, Donnelly, Bagnall, Doherty, Hale, Lowe, O’Neill (Kearns, 70), Coffey (C.Curran, 58).
Subs (not used): Dunne, McCrudden, Casey, Teggart.
REFEREE: Ian McNabb.
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