Belfast Telegraph

The Punter: Linfield look super bet to win Cup

Linfield are a must at 6-4 to lift the Irish Cup following the fifth round results which saw the elimination of Glentoran and Portadown.

The Ports were favourites to win at lowly Glenavon but it seems Gary Hamilton may turn things around at Mourneview Park where staying in the Premier League will be top priority.

But there's no doubt the major talking point was Amateur League side Newington's victory at the Oval.

The intermediate club reached the last eight in 2006 but this latest victory will go down as the biggest upset for many a long day — a result which will continue to have reverberations for the Big Two club for some time to come.

Mind you, things have been on the slide in the east for some time and the departure of manager Scott Young was inevitable after this result.

It's going to be a bleak remainder of the season for Glentoran fans, forced to sit and suffer as Linfield march to another likely double.

The league title is virtually in the bag and the Blues will now take plenty of stopping in the cup with Peter Thompson back after recovering from an operation and in superb goalscoring form.

Carrick should not present too much of a problem in round six while the clash of Glenavon and Crusaders will see another senior team out of the way.

Donegal Celtic or Cliftonville will also miss out on the last eight one way or another.

On the face of it, 6-4 is normally too short for four wins on the trot, but the Irish Cup is very much an exception to the rule.

Of the 16 clubs left, only four offer a realistic challenge to Linfield who have lifted the trophy 41 times including five occasions in the last six years.

By the quarter-final stage, there will be at most only five other senior clubs left, assuming the Blues take care of Carrick for which they'll be around 1-3.

Any home draws will favour Linfield while Cliftonville at 9-2 look the best alternative.

Backing the Reds each way will pay 9-4 if they are beaten by the Blues in the final while odds of 11-2 about the Crues are inviting, despite that tricky encounter in Lurgan in the next round.

Irish Cup odds: 6-4 Linfield; 9-2 Cliftonville; 5-1 Coleraine; 11-2 Crusaders; 16-1 Ballymena Utd; 20-1 Glenavon; 25-1 Dungannon Swifts, Donegal Celtic; 100-1 Carrick, Loughgall; 150-1 Ballinamallard, Newington; 300-1 Coagh United; 500-1 Derriaghy, Newbuildings.

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