After another weekend of entertaining Irish League football, we are back again with yet another Team of the Week.
The choice for goalkeeper was a relatively easy one this week in Roy Carroll, who produced an outstanding display for Linfield in their 1-0 victory over Glentoran. The international goalkeeper made three or four saves when it looked harder to miss including an unbelievable double save to deny Robbie McDaid and then Curtis Allen’s follow up.
In what may be seen as a controversial choice, three of my back four are also Linfield players in, Chris Casement, Mark Stafford and Mark Haughey. Casement at right back while the other two make the central defensive partnership. It may be seen as controversial, as many believe that apart from Carroll, Linfield didn’t produce much of a performance between the other players. Casement had a relatively quiet, yet solid game at right back, doing what was necessary well, including clearing a good chance off the line in the second half. Stafford and Haughey, meanwhile, overcame a nervous period in the middle of the first half, to regain their composure and help Linfield obtain yet another clean sheet.
Our left back is another from the ‘Big Two’ derby on Saturday, but from the other side of the city in Ross Redman. Redman managed to keep mercurial Linfield winger Kirk Millar quiet as well as contributing well to the Glentoran attack when they were in possession.
My choice at right midfield this week is Jamie McGonigle, who despite starting on the bench, was introduced at half time by Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. McGonigle then proceeded to give the Bannsiders they needed to push on, to beat Ards 3-0 with three second half goals, after what had been a lacklustre first half.
Left midfield was again a natural choice with Paul Heatley scoring a sublime, so called perfect hat-trick, for Crusaders as they beat Ballinamallard 5-1 at Ferney Park. Heatley opened the scoring for the Crues with a superb diving header from a long throw, before firing home at the near post after a deflected effort fell to him and racing through to finish past Brush later in the first half.
Our pairing in central midfield are both Glentoran players, being James Knowles and Marcus Kane. Knowles especially was impressive, before tiring in the second half as they prevented Linfield’s midfield from having much of an influence on the game. Knowles covered a lot of ground, to win and keep possession, while Kane did much the same in a seemingly more understated fashion.
Leading the line this week is two players from opposite sides of a different rivalry with Darren McCauley and Cathair Friel. McCauley scored two second half goals for Coleraine, to help them on their way to their 3-0 victory at the Bangor Fuels’ Arena. Friel, meanwhile, showed a glimpse of the form he had last season as he also scored two but for Ballymena, as they put three past Warrenpoint, after conceding an early opener to win 3-1.