Belfast Telegraph

Irish Cup: Glentoran’s seven-year itch has Leeman fired up for glory run

By Graham Luney

Paul Leeman says he’s desperate to get his hands on the Irish Cup again.

It’s been seven long years since the east Belfast giants last won the prestigious prize and Leeman knows that’s too long for a club with a proud Cup tradition.

The Irish Cup has always had a special place in the heart of Glentoran’s army of fans and Leeman is one of them.

The fifth round draw tomorrow sees Scott Young’s side travel to Ballymena United — a tough opener but the County Antrim Shield winners and Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-finalists are packing a knock-out punch this season.

“It’s been a while since I’ve been involved in an Irish Cup final,” said Leeman. “Every year you look to do well in the league and try to go as far as you can in the Irish Cup.

“We have a very tough game at Ballymena United and they will be up for it. They have beaten us at the Oval a few times but we know we can beat anyone and on the day we’ll be up for it.

“We have to produce a good performance and although they have former Glens players Ryan Berry and Andy Smith in their ranks we have to focus on ourselves and try to get in the hat for the next round.”

Leeman admitted he was relieved the club was coming out a financial storm still intact.

“When it first came to light people were concerned but the good people at the club have rallied together and have managed to raise a lot of money,” he said.

“Someone’s come out to help the club and it’s fantastic news. It’s important that this never happens again.

“Clubs have to live within their means as things have got out of hand in recent years — clubs cannot sustain that, they have to be smarter and run things like a business.

“Glentoran have to be realistic and they cannot pay out what they don’t have.”

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