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Glendinning out to soothe past final woe

By Graham Luney

Ballymena United's Ross Glendinning is hoping a taste of NI League Cup glory tonight will help heal the wounds of his Irish Cup final nightmare last season.

The shot-stopper, who is on loan at the Braidmen from Linfield, made way for Gareth Deane in last season's May showpiece against Glenavon and he watched from the bench as the Blues lost 2-0.

David Healy's decision to take the 23-year-old out of the firing line in the biggest game of the season was a hammer blow but the son of Glentoran legend Mark is hoping to have a big impact in this evening's final against Carrick Rangers at Seaview.

Now reunited with his old Blues chief David Jeffrey, Glendinning's confidence is growing all the time but that painful Irish Cup final memory still haunts him.

"We are in the Irish Cup quarter-finals but being left out of the final while at Linfield did leave a sour taste in my mouth and it is something which has been in the back of my mind," said Glendinning, whose brother Reece is with the Blues.

"When you suffer a setback like that, it makes you hungrier to win a medal and experience a final even more. Hopefully I'll get that chance and help Ballymena United win silverware.

"I'm feeling a lot more confident now.

"When I first went to Ballymena, big Alan Blayney was in goals and I was a bit low in confidence but I've progressed well after working with David, Bryan (McLoughlin) and the goalkeeping coach Alan Simpson.

"I feel as if I am performing as well as I have in my career but I want to get better and become the best goalkeeper in the league. I've a long way to go to claim that title but I'm making good strides forward.

"With Tim (Allen) coming in that has created added competition for the No.1 jersey and he's popular here with the fans but I do feel more comfortable and confident.

"I feel I have established myself in the position but I haven't really thought about the future much. I'm out of contract in the summer and have had a few offers but I'm totally focused on this cup final and I'm not thinking about my future."

The United players trained at Seaview this week in preparation for the big showdown in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

"We don't regard ourselves as favourites, I see it as two Premiership sides going head to head and even though Carrick are further down the table than ourselves, they are capable of beating us, as any Premiership team is on their day," added Glendinning.

"League form is irrelevant, you simply have to perform in a cup final. The semi-final feels like it was a long time ago and perhaps this final has been at the back of everyone's minds but it's very important because the club has never won it before."

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