Belfast Telegraph

It’s the great Whites hope

Graham Luney

Tommy Wright isn’t exaggerating when he states that it would “mean everything” for Lisburn Distillery to hit the big time in tomorrow’s Co-operative Insurance Cup final.

Just like Glentoran, the club has risen from a financial crisis to give supporters something to cheer about.

And it’s been a long wait for Whites fans. They will travel in their hundreds to Mourneview Park (2.30pm) hoping to see their team win a senior trophy for the first time since the Gold Cup success in 1994.

“For everyone at the club, it would mean everything to win a trophy,” said Wright.

“The club has come through its bad times and the move to Lisburn has went just ok, with us not really building on the support base.

“That support is quite tight-knit and loyal and I think it would mean everything to them to pick up some silverware.

“They are telling me all the omens like it’s 40 years since the Irish Cup win and it’s Portadown they beat in the final. The supporters are all buzzing and if we can do it, it would give them and the club a massive lift.”

Wright knows his young guns will be going into the lion’s den tomorrow but he has no fears of them freezing on the big stage.

“Most of the Portadown players have won something while we have Pat (McShane), Glenn (Ferguson), Gary Browne and Andy Hunter who have been down that road and their experience can help carry the youngsters through,” said Wright whose only cup final experience as a player or manager was a North-West Cup triumph at Limavady United.

“But the young players have grown as the season has went on and while we have been inconsistent at times, they have gained belief. They have matured over the season and their attitude, even when left out, has been superb.

“We have beaten Portadown twice but in a cup final that doesn’t mean a lot. On paper they have more experience than us and more quality in depth.

“Thankfully, football matches aren’t won on paper and although we don’t have that much of a psychological advantage after beating them at the weekend, it was almost like a cup final for us and we came through the pressure of that and dealt with it.

“I’m hoping we can build on that and I’m delighted the bookies have us as slight underdogs.

“We have quality in our squad though Portadown have more experience. That’s not playing mind games, that’s a fact. Our top six place in the league will remain for me a bigger achievement that reaching a cup final.”

Wright has a fully fit squad to select from, apart from suspended youngster Aaron Traynor.

Belfast Telegraph


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