Glentoran is the halfway point of our club profile series for the 2019/20 Irish League season. As a period of upheaval beckons, Glentoran look to build upon a strong finish to the previous campaign. A position in the top 6 is is the primary target at the Oval this season.
|Glenavon||Friday 9th August||Away|
|Coleraine||Tuesday 13th August||Home|
|Dungannon Swifts||Saturday 17th August||Away|
|Ballymena United||Saturday 24th August||Away|
|Institute||Saturday 31st August||Home|
|Larne||Saturday 7th September||Home|
Ronnie McFall’s appointment as Glentoran boss after 34 years away from the club was expected to be a stabilising step. By January 2019 however, Glentoran were on the worst run of form in their 137-year history – they won just once in fourteen games. Gary Smith, the Glentoran assistant manager, was charged with replacing McFall in the new year. While Smith was successful in steadying the ship at, a club takeover dictated his removal in March 2019. New manager Mick McDermott would maintained an unbeaten league record before falling short against Cliftonville in the Europa League Play Off semi-final. Despite a season of struggles, three of Glentoran’s strikers: Darren Murray, Curtis Allen and Robbie McDaid all hit double figures last season- a positive aspect of a difficult campaign.
Following the financial takeover of Glentoran heavy recruitment was to be expected. Early announcements of Linfield duo Johnny Frazer and the versatile Cameron Stewart proved a statement of intent for the club. Glentoran also recruited two Croats for their squad. Firstly, 6’5” goalkeeper Marjan Antolovic and secondly midfielder Hrvoje Plum. Their early adjustment to Irish football will be critical for Glentoran’s fortunes this season, particularly forthe goalkeeping department. Antolovic replaces club legend Eliot Morris who has represented the club between the sticks 731 times. Glentoran have also beaten Cliftonville to the signing of Derry City defender Patrick McClean.
While Glentoran is Mick McDermott’s first venture as a manager, he brings to the club a wealth of footballing experience. Having held coaching roles across Asia, McDermott worked alongside former Man United assistant manager Carlos Queiros in the Iran national team. Before taking up the Glentoran post, McDermott had been primed to re-join Queiros in the Columbian national side. McDermott’s broad CV makes him an intriguing prospect for Glentoran and indeed Irish football.
Glentoran’s prospects this season are uncertain. After a period of financial uncertainty the season may prove too early for Glentoran to challenge for major honours again. McDermott will be determined to deliver a top six position this year. If signings click immediately Glentoran could be tough to stop, but at this stage they must still develop to become better than the clubs around them.
Glentoran’s front three of Curtis Allen, Darren Murray and David McDaid are all at 25/1 to be top goalscorer this season. If you think Mick McDermott can work magic in his first full season in charge, the Glens are 16/1 to go all the way and lift the Gibson Cup for the first time since 2009. All prices are available in store or via our dial-a-bet service!
Check out all of our Irish League odds here, and join us again tomorrow for the next in our club profile series: Coleraine. Catch-up with our previous club profiles here: Warrenpoint Town, Institute, Carrick Rangers, Dungannon Swifts, Glenavon.