Lots of positives from Cliftonville defeat: Connolly

Larne keeper John Connolly, seen here playing for former club Glenavon.
Larne keeper John Connolly, seen here playing for former club Glenavon.

Larne lost the first match of their pre-season programme on Saturday, going down 2-1 at home to Premiership champions Cliftonville.

Former Reds keeper John Connolly (below), now plying his trade at Inver Park thought there were a lot of positives for the Inver Reds.

“The lads battled very well against the best team in the country and if we can keep up that standard we will do well,” he said.

“Everything is being done very professionally at the club which is great for all the players.

“I am really enjoying it here and looking forward to the new season.”

In an entertaining 90 minutes, Larne were always in contention and almost snatched a late equaliser.

The home side fell behind after 11 minutes when Stephen Garrett burst clear and was upended by Connolly. There were no complaints about the penalty and George McMullan calmly dispatched from the spot.

The teams were back on level terms 12 minutes later. Stuart King’s free-kick from 25 yards rebounded off the wall to King who drilled it into the bottom-right corner.

Twenty minutes from time Ciaran Caldwell found space on the right and picked out substitute Conal McGrandless who saw his header go in off the bar.

Larne: Connolly, Thompson, Davidson (Heggarty 78), Scott, McClean,McMullan, King (Gillan 60), Crawford (Smyth), Maguire, McCabe, Robinson. Subs not used: Ward, Byrne.