If Tennent’s Irish Cup holders Glenavon are to make it to a third final in four seasons, they will have to beat the form team of the moment when they take on Coleraine at the Ballymena Showgrounds tomorrow (kick off 5:15pm).
Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders are unbeaten in 14 games and are aiming to reach the final for the first time since 2008 when they lost 2-1 to Linfield. Their last success in the final came in 2003 when they defeated Glentoran 1-0 and they also made the final the following season only to lose by the same margin to the Oval outfit.
Gary Hamilton accepts that, on current form, his side go into the game tomorrow as underdogs. “You can’t argue with Coleraine’s fine form at the moment and you can’t argue that we’re not the underdogs going into this game. At the minute the momentum is with them and it looks as if they’re going to finish third in the league if they keep going the way they’re going.
“By the same token, we’ve played all these teams before; we’ve had difficult games before, and the boys just have to believe in themselves and go out and give it their all and believe they can beat Coleraine Football Club. If they don’t believe that they might as well not turn up. It’s going to be difficult, they are going to be favourites but we also know that if we show our potential and play to our capabilities, then we’re capable of beating anybody as we’ve proved last year and in games this year as well.
“It all comes down to the day and hopefully on the day we can perform, hopefully we’re up for it, not like the last semi-final against Carrick in the League Cup, but hopefully we’ll go out and give everything we’ve got. We all know in Cup football you can go out and give everything and maybe not get the breaks and still get beaten but as long as the players give their teammates and the supporters and the Club every single ounce of energy they’ve got, that’s all we can ask for. If they’re done by an unlucky decision or whatever then you just accept that but we have to give everything.
“The last couple of years in semi-finals, I’ve always said you need a wee rub of the green at times and, looking back, if you look at the first semi-final against Crusaders we had a penalty which we missed and then Crusaders had a penalty, which if they’d scored, it wouldn’t have went to extra time, but we ended up winning. The last one against Crusaders (last year) they had a chance when they were 3-2 up to make it 4-2, they didn’t take it and we ended up getting an equaliser and going on to win 4-3. There’s these wee breaks in Cup football that don’t really happen as often in league football and you have to take your opportunities when they come along and be confident and give everything you’ve got – that’s what football’s about, especially cup football because you only get one chance at it.”
Glenavon will play in their change strip of orange shirts and black shorts and BlueZone (open tonight 7.30-8.30pm) has a special offer on the away shirts:
Adults – NOW only £33
Kids – NOW only £29
Available while stocks last.
BBC Sport NI revealed on Friday afternoon that the game will be streamed live on the BBC Sport NI website and their Facebook page.