Belfast Telegraph

Irish Cup Final - Glentoran v Portadown: Fans can drive us on to glory, says Stephen McAlorum

By Graham Luney

Stephen McAlorum has made a passionate plea to the Glentoran fans to drive the players on to another remarkable Irish Cup triumph.

The tough-tackling midfielder is one of the few survivors from the Glens' stunning 2013 victory over a treble-chasing Cliftonville side and most of his precious memories from that emotional occasion surround the vociferous support for the boys in white.

More than 5,000 fans made their way to Windsor Park and roared Eddie Patterson's side to a 3-1 victory over Tommy Breslin's charges after extra-time.

"What really impressed me from the 2013 final was the fans who cheered us on in huge numbers," says Maccers.

"Glentoran brought well over 5,000 fans to the final and the atmosphere was fantastic.

"The supporters turned up to cheer on their team even though people said we never had a chance.

"At moments like that you realise how big a club Glentoran is and what it means to the supporters.

"It was a special moment in my career, walking out with my boy Connlaoi and it's a great family day for the players as well as being a big occasion for the fans.

"To reach another Cup final this season is a fantastic achievement."

The Glens went into the 2013 decider as underdogs and despite being handed home advantage this time around, McAlorum feels his side are up against it again.

"We were underdogs in the 2013 final because we faced a very strong Cliftonville side who were going for the treble," added the former Donegal Celtic man.

"It will be the same again because the Portadown squad is packed full of experienced players who have an impressive collection of medals. There is quality throughout the squad and they certainly have plenty of firepower with guys like Mark McAllister, Darren Murray and Gary Twigg.

"A Glentoran team, though, will always compete.

"They do have more resources but on our day we can beat anyone and surprise a few of the big guns."

The Glens can derive inspiration from their impressive semi-final triumph over newly crowned Premiership champions Crusaders.

McAlorum added: "I think we have battled well for one another and got stronger as a team.

"I've always believed that when we perform well as a unit we can beat anyone and we proved that against Crusaders in the Irish Cup semi-final.

"We had a gameplan and it was certainly no fluke.

"A lot of credit must go to Eddie and Seamus and Tiernan Lynch as a lot of hard work was put in to making sure we had the best possible chance of winning.

"We had Crusaders watched for a while and we set out to exploit any weaknesses they had.

"It's given the boys a massive lift for this big game and hopefully we can produce a similar performance."

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