Sunday, November 13, 2011
Every little helps as Glentoran Legends win again
The Alzheimers Society benefitted to the tune of £650 from todays game at Solitude as the Legends came up against a Tesco Select XI. The final score from the game was 5-4 to the Glentoran Legends with the goals coming from Gary Blackledge (2) , Stephen Douglas , Raymond Morrison and Mark Glendinning scored the others in a highly entertaining game watched by a good crowd at the Reds ground this afternoon. A more detailed report on the game will appear in the Glentoran Gazette on Wednesday evening for our game with Coleraine.

Legends show support for Huntington’s disease Association

On Sunday 10th October some of the top names in local football from the last three decades will be rolling back the years in a very special game in aid of the Huntington’s disease Association.
Shorts FC on the Holywood Road will be the venue for this match which will kick-off at 2pm. Taking part will be the Glentoran Legends XI who will face an Ex Irish League Select XI in what should prove a fascinating encounter.
In the Glens line-up will be Jim Cleary , Barney Bowers , Billy Caskey , Gary Blackledge and Johnny Jamison to name but a few with the likes of Glenn Ferguson , Gavin Arthur , Lee Doherty amongst those expected to be in the Irish League XI . With so many ex Linfield players in their line-up it should add extra spice to the game.
Organisers of the game are Paul and Tommy Leeman, who have lost family members to this incurable disease and are so determined to do what they can for the charity. Whilst Tommy will be in the Glentoran Legends panel on the day, Paul will don the Manager’s coat for the day, in what will be a very special day for them both.
With a cup being presented to the winners on the day, it all points to a cracker game for the spectator. By the way, entrance is free on the day although a donation to the charity would be very much appreciated.
“I would like to thank everyone for their help in pulling this match together” said Tommy. “I know that we will have a great squad on the day, however, I know that Digger Whiteside and Glenn Ferguson are putting together a great squad also, so it should be an entertaining game for the fans. I just hope we get a good crowd on the day.”
When the match is over, the players will be making their way down to the Westbourne GSC for a well earned Soda Pop! Before an evening of entertainment will be held in the main function room, starting at 7pm.
“Yes, my thanks to Eddie Harvey for helping us with the function after the game.
Entrance for the night is open to anyone. Entrance is only £5.00 and includes supper.
We should have a great night’s cabaret and we will also be holding a ballot and auction later in the evening to help us raise a few more pounds for the charity. Earl Walsh from the Huntington’s disease Association will also be attending and will be making a short speech to highlight the need for much needed funds for the Association. All in all it promises to be a great day.” Said Tommy.
Incidentally the Glentoran Legends will be wearing a new shirt for the day which will feature the logo of the Huntington’s disease Association. They were being sold at £50 per shirt and should all be sold prior to kick off. The brainchild of Paul Leeman, the shirts are made by Umbro and with only 20 being made for the game they should be very popular with shirt collectors. Should you be interested in purchasing one of these limited edition shirts, please text your details to 07561082397.

So the scene is set for a very special day, we look forward to seeing you there.
from front page
On Sunday 15th August they travel the short distance up the Bangor carriageway to Seapark at Holywood were they will face Holywood FC Legends XI. The chosen charity that will benefit that day will be Help for Heroes. Kick –off will be 2.30pm.
After that game they move closer to home with a game at Tillysburn against a H and W Welders Old Boys XI , on Friday 20th August , with one of the Welders chosen charities benefiting on the night from both the match and post match function at the Welders club. Kick-off will be 6-30 pm.
A game with the Derry City Legends is being planned for September, hopefully on Saturday 25th. However, full confirmation of that will follow. We would hope that the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children will be the charity to benefit that day.
Moving on to October and we have two matches confirmed. Firstly, in aid of the Huntington Disease Association the Glentoran Legends will be in action against a special Ex-Irish League Selection. The match is scheduled for Sunday 10th October and will hopefully take place at Shorts.
Two weeks later, Sunday the 24th October the Glentoran Legends will be at the Hanwood Centre in Tullycarnet to face a RBAI Old Boys XI. Kick-off is scheduled for 2pm.
Reports and further updates on these games will appear in the Gazette in the coming weeks.

Tonight’s gonna be a good, good night

It is now some two years since the Glentoran Legends XI came into being and in that time they have enjoyed many great games and post match functions , however , Saturday 12th June will be a day that will live long in the memory of all those connected with the Legends side.
Meeting up at the Park Avenue Hotel, some of the greatest names of Glentoran linked to Glentoran’s past, set off for the Maiden City to take on a Derry City Legends XI in a special fundraising game for the Foyle Hospice. A special coach had been laid on by the Legends proud sponsors, the 1923 Supporters Committee, who joined the Legends for the trip to add some vocal support for the game.
Last season, the game between the two sides had been keenly fought and ended with a 4-4 draw before both sides enjoyed a terrific nights craic that we felt could not be bettered. Well I am pleased to say, this year certainly blew away last seasons events.
In the lead up to the big day, the phone had been red hot as I made sure that we had a team that would do both Glentoran and Liam Coyle proud.
If you do not already know, Liam’s brother, Terence had died a few months’ prior after being superbly cared for by the Foyle Hospice. Liam’s wanted to repay the Hospice in some way and asked if we could come up to the Brandywell to face the Derry City Legends again, with all monies raised on the day going to the Hospice. We were only too happy to oblige , after all this is the same guy who travelled all the way down from Derry on his own to support Jim Cleary in our recent game at Rosario for the NICFC. It was the very least we could do.
The night before the game though we had no keeper confirmed to play. Neil Armstrong had phoned on the Tuesday night to say that he could not make it as he was due to start pre-season training with Portadown. As their other keeper would be away for their upcoming European game, he would be starting and Big Ronnie reluctantly could not risk Neil getting injured. Reggie Hillen was also unavailable; Alan Paterson would love to play but his “body wasn’t up to it”. Other’s were phoned as emergency back-up but sadly all was to no avail until there in my little black book was a number for a guy , I unbelievably had overlooked , Trevor McCullough , a team mate of Rab McCreery and Billy Caskey in the 1970’s. It was Friday afternoon, the game was tomorrow, rather sheepishly I phoned the number and thankfully Trevor was in. I didn’t have to finish my semi prepared speech, “Of course I will play, and I would love to be part of it.” On the other end of the phone, I was doing silent punches in the air, my panic was over, we had a keeper!

Saturday morning had now arrived and we had a squad of 17, or so I thought! I collected Raymond Morrison en-route to the hotel but as we drove into the hotel car park, we were greeted by Johnny Jamison; he was still in his work uniform. “Sorry Phil, can’t make it today, I had to work last night and I’m only finished at nine. Have you enough?” “Don’t worry Johnny; we have still got 16, that will be enough.”

Before leaving Johnny, slipped some money into my pocket. “Put that in the collection and tell Liam that I am sorry to miss out this year.” One thing that I have learnt over the two years with the guys is that they all have a mutual respect for each other and when there is a suitable cause they will rally round each other.
Johnny said his goodbyes as the rest of the lads began to arrive , Rab McCreery , Jim Cleary , Barney Bowers , Gary Blackledge , Gary Smyth , Tommy Leeman , Justin McBride , Gary Hillis , David Keery ,Tom Cleland . Then the bottom doors of the Park Avenue swung open and then came a voice that we all knew “Right , start the bus , Casko’s here , she thinks I have gone out to get the papers , let’s get going , sure I will bring her the Sunday’s!” Alongside, Billy was Trevor McCullough. Only two more players to complete the squad, Darren Parker will meet us at the Ballymena roundabout and Mark Glendinning will meet us up there, his two sons are training with the Milk Cup squads and he will head up after their session.
The bus set off en-route to the Maiden City and immediately the Mickey taking began , no one escaped , none more so than Geordie Trout , a mate of Tommy Leeman and someone who has became something of a “mascot” for the Legends , travelling everywhere with the lads, even though he is from the Shankill!! Anyway, in the run up to the game, Tommy told Geordie that as it was a special game for Liam Coyle that everyone was to wear a suit for the day. To his credit, Geordie arrived at the Park Avenue looking like a tax inspector, complete with a suit that would have done John Dillenger proud! Needless to say, you can imagine what was said when he arrived to see the rest of the lads in tee –shirts and jeans. Quick as a flash, Geordie fined everyone for improper dress!!
After collecting Darren Parker at the Dunsilly Roundabout , the bus made it’s way up to Londonderry via a stop off for brunch (the 23 doing it in style again!) at the Oakleaf Café just below the Glenshane Pass. It seemed somewhat surreal as we enjoyed our soup and sandwiches whilst out the window, Rab McCreery, Gary Blackledge and Jim Cleary sat in the sun, no doubt discussing days gone by and former matches. Judging by the mimed tackle that Rab was showing, I would have hated to be the forward that was on the end of it!
Break over, we all boarded the bus and set off again and made the journey up the pass and on to Londonderry and then on to the Brandywell, were we were greeted by the familiar face of Liam Coyle and fellow match organiser, Noel Murray.
As dressing rooms go those at the Brandywell leave a lot to be desired. A simple 15 x 15 room with whitewashed walls and a treatment table that has seen better days. There are one set of showers for both sides. What must Real Madrid have thought a few years ago when they played them!
Anyway whilst the lads stretched their legs , we got the kit laid out for them and got the trusty banana’s and water available for them as they came in to get changed.
Before they got changed came the moment I was dreading, naming the team.
“Right Philabio am I starting?” said Gary Hillis as he came through the doorway.
“Hillis, your playing right back” shouted Andy Mathieson, “Isn’t that right Rab?”
“Is he what!” came Rab’s reply. Now I knew how Ronnie Mc Fall must have felt!
Suddenly the room turned quiet and all the eyes turned on me. After a nervous clearing of the throat, I began the starting line-up.
“In goal Trevor, Rab at right back.”
“Ah for frig sake, can I have a word gaffer” said Hillis, to the roars of the room.
“Sas at left back, with Tommy and Smicker in the middle.”
“Justy on the right wing, Nuts and Parker in the centre and Keyhole on the left.”

“Up front, Blackie and Casko.”

Then came the hard bit. “Jimmy and Barney you’re on the bench to start with along with Davy Keery, Hillis and Andy Mat.”
How could I not start Jimmy Cleary and Barney Bowers? Thankfully, they had both had a quiet word with me on the way up and asked that the “younger lads” start the game. “They would come on later and show them how it should be done.” to quote Barney.
Thankfully everybody just grabbed their respective kits and began to get changed.
As I have said before, the craic in the dressing room is brilliant and as they began to get ready Billy Caskey found anew use for his pre-match banana. He certainly would have done Linford Christie proud , although I think the two ladies outside the dressing room door got the shock of their lives as Billy threw open the door before stepping out with his new “Fyffes” lunch box down in his shorts! We don’t know whether Billy actually ate his banana after that.
After the usual pre-match photos and exchanging of pennants, the match began and within minutes Mark Glendinning was making his presence felt on Derry’s live wire forward, Gary Heaney. So much so that after the third “tackle” , Noel Murray shouted across to us on the bench , “Dear God , guys did you feed him raw meat on the way up the road?”  “That’s mild Noel, Rab’s still eating his!!” came the reply.
In fairness the game was played in a terrific spirit with both sides going close early on, Trevor Mc McCullough thankfully for us was in terrific form making three great saves in the first twenty minutes.
However, it was the Glens who took the lead when a great run and cross by Justin McBride was met by Gary Blackledge who flicked the ball on across the face of the goal. Trying to clear the ball, Derry defender, Tony O’Doherty only managed to divert the ball into his own net. Typical of Blackie, he tried to claim the goal; his team mates were having none of it.
Soon after Trevor McCullough continued his great form with another couple of saves to deny Harry McCourt then Sean Hargan.
It was time for the “Big Guns” as Jimmy Cleary and Barney Bowers took to the field with Tom Cleland and Gary Blackledge making way for them.
Despite their “experience” of years, both Billy Caskey and Barney Bowers were giving the Derry defence some problems with both almost adding to the Glens lead.

However, Barney would manage to make it two with a few minutes left of the half, when he ghosted in behind the Derry defence before lobbing the keeper with a truly exquisite lob. It was warmly met with applause from both sides of the ground.
Controversy reined soon after when Derry scored straight from the kick-off, as Paul McLaughlin caught everyone by surprise, even the three Glens players who were still in the Derry half of the pitch, still making their way back after Barney’s goal.
The response from our bench was unprintable but the ref was having none of it and allowed the goal to stand, much to our disapproval.
Half time came soon after and as the Glens Legends took a well earned break, the fans from both sides took part in a light hearted penalty kick competition and just as they had done last year, the Glens fans did the club proud by winning 3-2, an omen for the second half perhaps!
The half time break saw some more changes to the line-up with Jimmy again happy to take a break and David Keery coming on to the left of midfield. Gary Hillis was now on the right wing with Justin McBride up front with Billy Caskey. Rab McCreery also made way for Andy Mathieson.
Only five minutes had gone when the Glens had made it 3-1 with Billy Caskey latching unto a loose ball and hooking it home from the corner of the box.

An injury to Tommy Leeman forced another shuffle of the pack with Darren Parker dropping into the centre of defence with Andy Mathieson moving to fill in for Parker in midfield with a now rested Rab McCreery returning to right back.
A mix-up in the Glens defence led to Derry getting a second goal with ten minutes to go. A ball was pushed back to Trevor McCullough and in a lapse of concentration, Trevor picked up the ball. However, the ref deemed it as a back-pass and awarded a free-kick. Quick as a flash, Sean Hargan grabbed the ball and slipped it to Gary Beckett who slotted it home, with most of the Glens Legends still disputing the award of the free-kick. Yet again, the” Homer”, sorry ref, awarded the goal.
It set up a grandstand finish with Derry throwing everything at the Glens goal, quite literally, with one scary moment when Gary Smyth was knocked out as he jumped to head the ball clear, only to hit the shoulder of Sean Hargan. Thankfully , after a few minutes Gary came round but watched the last few minutes from the sidelines as his team mates held out for the 3-2 win.
The score though was irrelevant as the real winner on the day was the Foyle Hospice who would benefit to the tune of just over £3,000 from the efforts of both sides and the fans on the day.
After a well earned shower both sides made their way to the new Derry City Supporters Club were to a man, the Glentoran Legends claimed that they had never had a night like it. After an initial couple of pints, we were fed like kings with something for everyone, Chicken Curry, Goulash, Stew and something called Salad! To follow that an array of desserts including, Apple Tarts, Pavlova’s and gateau’s.
Once the food was cleared away the entertainment began and it wasn’t the England v USA match on the TV. Karaoke was the order the day but first came a local comedian who to be fair wasn’t that bad, although most of us remembered his jokes from last year.
The Karaoke rounded off a wonderful day with the sight of Billy Caskey doing a terrific rendition of the Black Eyed Peas, I got a Feeling. It certainly got the place rocking and set the standard for the night. One other moment that will livelong in the memory of all of us that were there was when Noel Murray and Billy Caskey joined together to sing the Snow Patrol anthem , Chasing Cars. Again it was a wonderful moment as the room stood up and sang together as one, both sides of the political divide joined together in unison. It was certainly a moment that summed up the day and the bond that now exists between both sets of Legend sides. I only hope that we can replicate this when they will come down to the Oval to play us later this season.
Sadly we had to leave soon after this but the party just continued with the sing song continuing thanks to one of our guests, Chic Wilson having brought along his guitar.
All in all it was a truly wonderful day and on behalf of all involved with the Glentoran Legends and guest on the day can I extend our sincere thanks to the Officers and members of the 1923 Supporters Committee for all their support over the last two years and I hope that our link up continues for a long time to come. Those who were there for the day will always remember the events of the day; I hope that we will have many more.

All together now, “I got a feeling ….”

Photos courtesy of Thomas Sewell



Glentoran Legends enjoy some fun in the sun In a special game to mark the 40th Anniversary of Hillsborough Boys, the Glentoran Legends XI proved too strong for a Hillsborough Old Boys Select side, winning by a comfortable 4-0 margin.
A large crowd turned up to support the event which whilst marking the 40th Anniversary of Hillsborough Boys also saw another sizeable donation being made to the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children.
Due to family commitments by many of the regulars, the Glentoran Legends XI that was on view was perhaps a little bit older in years than what would normally line-out. However , experience and class shone through as some of Glentoran’s greatest ever rolled back the years with captain Rab McCreery leading the way throughout aided and abetted by the timeless Billy Caskey , Barney Bowers and Johnny Jameson.
Another star performer on the day was Raymond Morrison, who covered every blade of grass in midfield and crowned a great performance with perhaps the goal of the game, when he typically ghosted through the middle of the Hillsborough defence before calmly lifting the ball over the Hillsborough keeper, who had came off his line to attempt to clear the ball. However, Nuts showed all his experience to lob the ball over the keeper and into the empty net. Some of the “younger” guys like Tom Cleland and Pete Batey were also putting a great shift in midfield, helping to stifle any possible threat that Hillsborough may have posed.
With a resolute defence in front of him consisting of Rab McCreery, Tommy Leeman, Barney Bowers and Darren Parker, the Legends keeper, Neil Armstrong was rarely called into action apart from one excellent finger tip save from a rare Hillsborough attack.
The warm weather certainly played its part in the pace of the game but that did not hamper the entertainment value as the Glentoran Legends put together a string of attacks throughout the first half, sadly at the break there was only that sole Morrison goal to separate the sides.
At the break Hillsborough had the luxury of a full change of players coming for the second half, whereas the Glentoran Legends shuffled the pack with John Kennedy joining the Legends ranks after playing the first half for Hillsborough. Johnny Jamison also entered the fray, whilst two “ringers” Mark and Michael Bowers came on to give some of the “oul hands” a breather.
It became 2-0 to Legends not long after the break as Billy Caskey showed great awareness to beat the square Hillsborough off-side trap before drilling the ball home under the keeper.
Despite having many former Irish League stars in their ranks such as Paul Mooney, Glenn Hunter, Davy Armstrong and Alan Hanna, Hillsborough struggled to contain the Legends throughout and it wasn’t long before it was 3-0. This time it was Darren Parker’s turn to break through before smacking the ball home.
As time was running out , Gary Blackledge made up for missing a sitter in the first half by making it 4-0 , when he broke clear of his marker before rounding the keeper before almost walking the ball into the empty net.
Soon after the referee blew for full-time before the players of both sides retired to the clubhouse for a well earned cool drink (or two).
Gareth Clements, Colin Adams & Jordan Adams representing Hillsborough Boys JFC present Naomi Braithwaite of NICFC with £800.00 raised during the recent 40th Anniversary match with Glentoran Legends
Glentoran Legends side – Neil Armstrong, Rab McCreery, Tommy Leeman, Barney Bowers, Darren Parker, Tom Cleland, Johnny Jameson, Raymond Morrison, Gary Blackledge, Billy Caskey, Pete Batey
Subs – Johnny Jamison, John Kennedy, Mark Bowers, Michael Bowers

Jimmy “cheques” in with the N.I.C.F.C.

Last Friday afternoon , Jim Cleary along with his son Jonathon , partner Emma and grandson , Ryan called into the offices of the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children to make a very special presentation.
They very proudly presented the charity with a cheque for the grand sum of £15,200 which was very warmly received and appreciated by the charity.
Speaking afterwards , Jimmy said “ We are all delighted to be presenting a cheque for such an amount to the NICFC ,as I know that they badly need such funds for the wonderful work that they do.”
“This amount is the total raised by the various fundraising that went on surrounding the recent match between the Glentoran Legends and the guys from Rosario. My sincere thanks go out to all the various people involved in the many different fundraising events that went on. There are just too many to thank personally so I hope that they will accept my thanks and that of the NICFC for what ever hard work they put in to help us raise this fantastic amount.”





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