Declan O’Hara was reluctant to add to his players’ disappointment by being overly critical of Cliftonville’s performance in yesterday’s European Play-Off Final defeat to Glentoran.
The Reds’ campaign ended on a flat note when two first-half goals from Junior set the hosts on course for a victory that was never really threatened over the course of 90 underwhelming minutes.
With the team having been in the mix for honours as the business end of the season approached, O’Hara acknowledged that things had not gone to plan in recent times but, with the Club set to appoint a new Manager this summer, the interim boss – who saw substitute Donal Rocks red carded at The Oval – was keen to draw a veil over “a poor day” in east Belfast.
“The goals we conceded were criminal, but I’m not going to rip the back out of the players,” he said.
“We’ve had a tough six weeks and this defeat is a hard one to take because there was so much at stake. The reality is our first shot was in the 92nd minute when the game was over.
“We asked the boys to be a bit more direct in the second-half, but Glentoran simply cancelled us out. The sending off compounded what was a poor day for us.”