Colin Coates says Crusaders players are desperate to reach the Irish Cup final to give David Magowan a shot at the big time.
Magowan has made 277 appearances for the Crues but the biggest game of his life passed him by when he was suspended for the 2009 Irish Cup decider.
Coates’ sidekick at the back was reduced to the role of very frustrated spectator as the Shore Road men lifted the trophy for the first time in 41 years with a 1-0 win over Cliftonville at Windsor Park.
Despite helping to get the Hatchetmen to Windsor, ‘Mags’ couldn’t feel part of the celebrations, his suspension proving to be the cruelest twist of fate imaginable.
But he has an opportunity to exorcise that ghost this season — if Stephen Baxter’s side can conquer Portadown in tomorrow’s semi-final at Mourneview Park.
The Ports are smarting from losing last year’s Irish Cup decider to Linfield and the Co-operative Insurance Cup final to Lisburn Distillery at the Lurgan venue last weekend.
However, Magowan has his own personal heartache to erase and Coates hopes he can get the day in the sun he deserves.
“David is such a modest guy and I can remember that he never complained about missing the cup final,” said Coates.
“It must have really hurt him but he put aside all his disappointment to help the boys win the cup.
“Now we are all desperate to give him another chance to play in a final. The boys have their great memories from that day but David was denied his. He missed his big chance once and we mustn’t let it happen again.
“I can understand him not really feeling part of it. I know there is no comparison to missing a cup final, but I didn’t feel part of Crusaders’ 5-0 win over Cliftonville because I didn’t play.
“You don’t feel the same euphoria that comes with a big, important win.
“Davy deserves another chance and the boys can hopefully reward him with that.”
There will be no replays in tomorrow’s Irish Cup semi-finals. Both the Crusaders v Portadown and Glentoran v Linfield ties will be played to a finish, with extra-time and penalties if necessary.
Tomorrow’s Mourneview Park clash is all-ticket, priced £12 adult and £6 concession.
Crues fans can purchase tickets from the Social Club and C&D Newsagents on the Shore Road, Crues Cuts Barbers, David Boyles Butchers, Abbots Cross and Mortgage Advice Shop, Carnmoney Rd.