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Bannsiders' Kane is eager to fulfil his boyhood dream

By Alex Mills

Tigerish Coleraine defender Lyndon Kane admits he doesn't have many happy memories of his boyhood heroes in Irish Cup finals - but he's determined to buck the trend.

As an 11-year-old he travelled to Windsor Park to watch the 2008 showpiece, but a Peter Thompson double earned Linfield a 2-1 victory after Paddy McLaughlin shot the Bannsiders into the lead.

A few years earlier in 2003, Lyndon and his granddad Billy, from the comfort of their living room, watched Marty Quinn lead Coleraine to their first Cup success since 1977 after a tense 1-0 win over Glentoran. Jody Tolan hit the winner.

And, 12 months later, the teams again met in the final, with Michael Halliday helping the Glens reap a little revenge. Unfortunately, Kane once more trooped away from the international venue heartbroken.

The now 21-year-old, however, has the chance of putting his own stamp on things this season, but first must help the Bannsiders negotiate today's Tennent's Irish Cup semi-final against Glenavon at the Warden Street Showgrounds.

"I've a few bad memories from previous finals, but now is the time to put it right," said Kane.

"It would be a dream to play in an Irish Cup final.

"We are approaching the game in the best possible shape, not having been beaten since Boxing Day. But we are aware that form can fly out of the window in a cup game - anything can happen so we'll be taking nothing for granted.

"However, our confidence is flying at the minute, so we are relishing the challenge."

Kane believes Coleraine boss Oran Kearney pulled a masterstroke with his two January signings, bringing in Eoin Bradley from Glenavon and Ciaron Harkin from Institute.

"They have both been brilliant," said Kane. "We all knew what Skinner (Bradley) was about. He is a handful for any defence and knows where the net is.

"Ciaron has come in and nailed down a first-team shirt. He may be lightly made up but he is a real warrior in the middle of the park.

"Those boys have played a big part in our 14-game unbeaten run - hopefully there is more to come."

Kane is under no illusions that Gary Hamilton's Glenavon, the Irish Cup holders, will have no intention of surrendering their crown without a fight.

"It's a big challenge, but we are up for it," he added. "We believe it's our time. Oran put his neck on the line a few years ago and put his faith in youth, it's now time to repay him.

"Brad (Lyons), Jamie (McGonigle), Adam (Mullan), our goalkeeper Chris Johns and I all have clocked up quite a few games. We are now reaping the rewards.

"The older boys in the squad, Stephen Douglas, Skinner, David Ogilby, Neil McCafferty and Michael Doherty, keep us right.

"They still have a big hunger to win, they don't like being beaten. It's a great mix and there is a buzz and banter in the changing room.

"I think we showed what we are about with last week's win over Crusaders. It was a game that we probably would have lost last season. But we have learned to dig in to grind out a result.

"We have learned to deal with the ugly side of the game.

"I think our results would suggest we can now live with the big guns as we have beaten both Linfield and Crusaders."

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