Portadown boss Ronnie McFall was full of praise for the players who stuck by the club this season and have now been rewarded with a place in the Co-Operative Insurance Cup final.
The Championship side will face Newry City on February 28 after defeating Glentoran with a 2-1 extra-time win in the semi-final at a rain-lashed Windsor Park.
Super-sub Richard Lecky was the hero of the hour as the Ports recovered from an early Andy Waterworth goal to level through Wesley Boyle and then made it an incredible 16 wins on the trot with the 110th minute winner.
"I'm not surprised to be in the final,” said a delighted McFall.
“In my opinion, I have some of the best players in Irish football at this club and they have shown that this season.
"Things were tough when we were sent to play in the Championship but the players have been magnificent since then.
“The cup final will be a great day for us and it will be a bonus for those who stayed at this club during difficult times."
The loss was a major disappointment for Glentoran, who must now focus on their title battle with Linfield, but for the Ports it was a deserved success, according to McFall.
“I thought we played good football in difficult conditions and created lots of chances,” said McFall.
“In my opinion we got our just rewards and it is fantastic for everyone connected with the club for us to reach the final against Newry.
“It shouldn’t be forgotten that outside Linfield and Glentoran we are the best supported team in the Irish League and this is great for our fans.”