Belfast Telegraph

Brannigan buoyed by cup buzz and vows to finish the job

By Steven Beacom

There is a "buzz and excitement" at Glentoran again for the first time in years, thanks to the Irish Cup final.

So says chairman Terence Brannigan, who like everyone else connected with the club can't wait for Saturday when the Glens take on Cliftonville.

Throughout an illustrious history, Glentoran have been known as a 'great Irish Cup team' but this is actually their first final since 2006.

And they are massive underdogs entering the Windsor Park showdown, with Cliftonville expected to complete a treble having already won the Irish Premiership and League Cup.

Just as Tommy Breslin has done a wonderful job at Solitude, the man he replaced as boss at Cliftonville, Eddie Patterson, deserves credit for what he has achieved with the Glens this season under difficult circumstances, when at different times his players were not paid their wages.

The green, red and black ribbons are proudly fluttering above the entrance at the Oval and in keeping with Cliftonville, every ticket that the Glens received from the Irish FA has been snapped up by enthusiastic supporters for what promises to be a special occasion.

"There is an excitement around the club that hasn't been there for some time," said Brannigan.

"Our supporters are really getting behind the team and any tickets that we have got for the final have been sold out immediately.

"I have been inundated from Glentoran fans in Northern Ireland and England looking for tickets. There is a buzz in the community and beyond.

"We know we are underdogs in the final but we are comfortable in taking on that mantle. There is no doubting the motivation and intensity among our coaching and playing staff and we are determined to give the deserved champions Cliftonville a superb game at Windsor Park."

For some Glentoran players it will be their last game for the club, but the chairman will be sticking around, even though last year he was selected to spearhead the body that will oversee the transformation of the former Maze Prison site.

With differing opinions and much debate on the Maze, that project could be time consuming. Don't expect Brannigan to leave the Glens though until he feels his work there is done.

He says: "I have no plans to step down. When I was appointed as chairman of Maze/Long Kesh I had lots of texts and calls from fans about whether I would be stepping down as chairman and I gave an assurance to them and the board that I have a job that is not yet completed.

"I came in two years ago with the intention of creating a strong and vibrant football club, not just financially, but in terms of the football team and to ensure we are in a position to move into our new stadium and I intend to be around to deliver those ambitions."

Belfast Telegraph


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