Glentoran v Ballymena United
Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup Final
Friday 31 July 2020, Kick Off 8.00pm
Tomorrow night we set out to achieve our 23rd Irish Cup success when we take on Ballymena United at the National Stadium at Windsor Park.
If we win this will be our third Irish Cup success in what has been one of the most difficult decades in the club’s history, no mean feat in an era where this club has been written off as a force by many within the game. The difference this time is that a win would serve to lay the foundation for a highly successful new era for the Glens under new ownership and with a move to an increasingly full-time setup.
Tomorrow’s squad is likely to contain four survivors from previous cup winning teams: Elliott Morris, who captained us tom final wins in 2013 and 2015 and who is preparing for his sixth cup final with the club, Marcus Kane who appeared in our last two winning teams, and Steven Gordon and Willie Garrett who both played a major role as Eddie Patterson’s Glens team beat Portadown five years ago.
We’ve won the last four meetings between the teams, most recently in December when late goals from Robbie McDaid and Navid Nasseri gave us a 2-0 home win. Previously at the Oval we needed an immense second half comeback to win 3-1 as goals from Hrvoje Plum, Robbie McDaid and Marcus Kane gave us a comfortable win. Back in September, two very late goals from Robbie McDaid (yet again) gave us a 2-1 win at the Showgrounds, our first of the season.
Mick McDermott: “All of us are fully aware of Glentoran’s great tradition in the Irish Cup and we’ll do our best to add to that. Reaching the Irish Cup Final this season puts us ahead of our timetable for re-establishing Glentoran at the top of Irish League football. But the players fully deserve to be here, and I know they will do everything to make sure our supporters have another memorable Irish Cup Final, albeit at home this year.
The semi-final with Cliftonville was pretty much what we anticipated and the sort of one we prepared the boys for. Larne probably play the best football of our opponents, but Cliftonville have numerous ways of hurting teams. We’ve played them 4 times since Paul and I came in, so we prepared knowing what was likely to be thrown at us. I thought we defended superbly and didn’t give their better players any time to settle so we shaded what was a very evenly matched game and deserved to go through. We also showed great character after losing an early goal so unfortunately. That also said a lot about the mental strength in this group of players. We took a decision to go with Elliott and he demonstrated why he’s such a legend with this club and still going strong after 18 seasons.
We’ve prepared very thoroughly for this final and will respect our opponents. Ballymena were second in the league last season and they won a match in Europe at the start of this season, so they’re obviously a much better team than their league position suggests. Obviously, their manager has a lot of experience in Cup Finals so he will know how to prepare his players. But we have a few players with winner’s medals plus Paul Millar has been involved in 2 wins for Glenavon in recent years. So, we’ll focus on what we need to do to get the game won.
This is a great group and I know they will go into this match with the right attitude. We know our ability should be good enough to beat Ballymena but in a cup final a lot of it is down to whichever team settles best. It will be a strange one, with no fans but when the match starts the players don’t really notice that as they’re focused on doing their job and winning their battles. We have a number of leaders and some very experienced players in our squad. They’ve worked extremely hard and overcome a few hurdles to get to this final, so they’re going into this one in exactly the right frame of mind. We will do everything we need to do to give our fantastic fans the end to this season they deserve and let them all see what we plan to achieve in the seasons to come.”
Reminder: Glentoran supporters will be housed in the West (Kop) Stand
The following IFA conditions apply to all attendees:
- It is strongly recommended that all ticket holders attending the Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup final wear face masks.
- All ticket holders must sit only in the seat stated on their ticket.
- All ticket holders must abide by the stadium and stand entrancing stated on their ticket.
- Facilities within the stadium will be limited as per social distancing guidelines.
- The purchase of food and beverage within the stadium will not be available.
- Social distancing guidelines must be adhered to.