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Final joy for four-goal hero Braniff

By David Mason

Kevin Braniff was delighted to send Glenavon into a second Irish Cup final in three years after he bagged a sensational four-goal haul in last night's semi-final against Crusaders at Windsor Park.

The 33-year-old striker was in unstoppable form as Glenavon forged their way into the May 7 decider by beating the Crues 4-3 and they will now face either Linfield or Lurgan Celtic.

Gary Hamilton's side battled back from being a goal down on three separate occasions after strikes from Matthew Snoddy - who bagged a first-half double - and Paul Heatley looked to have kept Crusaders on course for a league and cup double.

"It's a bit unreal," said Braniff.

"It's the first time that I've ever scored four goals in a game.

"I put the ball in the net; everything I touched seemed to go into the net, but what a performance from the boys."

Glenavon dug deep to come from behind three times and they are now almost certainly guaranteed another shot at European football in the summer.

"This team has bags of character. We went a goal down on three occasions, but these boys just don't know when they are beaten," said Braniff.

"Every one of them played a part. It's a special group of boys.

"We are all in it together. Now we have an Irish Cup final to look forward to. It doesn't matter who we play next month."

Victory for Linfield in today's second semi-final will book a return to Europe for Glenavon if they can finish third in the league, but Braniff has his sights set higher.

"Linfield will be big favourites to be in the final, but I suppose it would be great for the town if Lurgan Celtic got through.

"It's a big ask for them though," said former Millwall and Portadown star Braniff.

"We now have a massive end to the season to look forward to, we're still chasing down a European spot in the league, so the cup final will be set aside for a while."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph