Belfast Telegraph

Curtis Allen wants final say with Glens

Glentoran 3 - Dungannon 0

By Adrian Rutherford

Curtis Allen has unfinished business with the Irish Cup.

Twice in a former life the striker helped Linfield reach the final, only to miss out on appearing in the showpiece fixture.

Now he is aiming to make up for those bitter disappointments by firing Glentoran to glory.

The 27-year-old's early strike was the catalyst for an emphatic victory over Dungannon Swifts in a one-sided quarter-final tie at The Oval, which set up a last-four showdown against cross-city rivals Crusaders on March 21.

Allen admits it is a tough prospect, but the same would have been true no matter who the Glens were paired with.

Yet if he needs any extra motivation, it is surely the chance to finally play a part in an Irish Cup final.

"I've played in two semi-finals for Linfield but was left out of the squad for the final in both years," he explained.

"Both times I didn't find out until the day of the final, so there's a bit of heartache there.

"I don't think there's too many players who've missed out on two finals like that.

"We won the Irish Cup both years, but I don't really think of it as winning because I wasn't in the squad. I never played, so I have a bit of a point to prove.

"I'm experienced enough, I've been around long enough, but it adds that extra bit of incentive for me."

Allen took his tally for the season to 16 when he was first to react to the loose ball after goalkeeper Alvin Rouse had parried David Scullion's deflected strike on to the post.

Glentoran added a second in the 66th minute. Again Rouse was hugely unfortunate, saving well from Kym Nelson's drive only for Marcus Kane to drive home the rebound.

The third was scored late on. Allen's run into the box was ended by David Armstrong, resulting in a penalty and a red card for the Dungannon defender.

Ex-Swifts player Niall Henderson slotted home from the spot to complete a comfortable win.

Armstrong's red card rules him out of Swifts' next game, against Ballymena on Friday night.

It is the first of what Darren Murphy has termed eight cup finals as he turns his focus to securing their Premiership future.

Murphy said: "The league is the priority, but that's down to the players.

"If we have eight performances like we did on Saturday then our prospects of staying in the league are not very good."

Glentoran: Morris, Holland, Garrett, Addis, Kane, McAlorum, Nelson, Henderson, McCaffrey, Scullion, Allen. Substitutions: McKee (McCaffrey, 64 mins), Birney (Garrett, 74 mins).

Dungannon: Rouse, McCullough, Brennan, Armstrong, Wilson, Glackin, Hutchinson, Harpur, Hazley, Mitchell, Liggett. Substitutions: S Lavery (Hutchinson, 73 mins), Douglas (Mitchell, 73 mins).

Man of the match: Barry Holland

Match rating: 6/10

Referee: Raymond Crangle (Belfast)

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