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Reds ready to leave defeat in past and taste glory

By Graham Luney

Gerard Lyttle says he's still haunted by Cliftonville's defeat to Glentoran in the 2013 Irish Cup Final. The Reds under boss Tommy Breslin were hunting a terrific treble after securing the League Cup and Premiership title but they ran out of gas on that painful May day when Eddie Patterson's Glentoran brought the trophy back to east Belfast for the first time since 2004.

Joe Gormley had fired Cliftonville in front but an Andy Waterworth brace and Jimmy Callacher goal settled the contest.

Ciaran Caldwell, now at the Glens, was sent off along with Richard Clarke, and Lyttle - who was part of the Reds' coaching team - can't forget a day which summed up the north Belfast side's heavy dose of Irish Cup heartbreak since the club's heroics in 1979.

"We are due a massive bit of luck in this competition," the Reds boss says with considerable understatement. "Our luck has got to change but the way injuries and suspensions have happened for us this season you wonder will it?

"I'll never forget the final against Glentoran when Tommy (Breslin) was the manager. We were going for the three trophies, we took the lead and we were battering them but they fought back and it was a bitter pill to swallow.

"We didn't perform in the second half and allowed them back into it. That moment still haunts me. I think a bit of tiredness and complacency had crept in. The momentum just wasn't there. We had won the league with about five games to spare and the team was changed.

"But you live and learn in this game and you learn a lot from those dark moments."

If Cliftonville are going to keep their 2017 Irish Cup dream alive they must get past a significant hurdle tomorrow as Ballymena United are lying in wait at the Showgrounds.

"We will focus on ourselves and the boys are hungry to go on a good Cup run," he said.

Meanwhile, Cliftonville have signed defender Paul Finnegan.

The 20-year-old centre-half was at Bray Wanderers last season.

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