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Glenavon are kitted out for Cup decider

By Stuart McKinley

Published 04/04/2016

Joy: Gary Hamilton embraces Glenavon hero Kevin Braniff
Joy: Gary Hamilton embraces Glenavon hero Kevin Braniff

Glenavon will be hoping that history repeats itself when they step out onto the Windsor Park stage to face Linfield in next month's Irish Cup final.

With the battle between the Belfast and Lurgan Blues in the decider throwing up a colour clash, it has been decided that Glenavon will don their orange away kit for the big day.

And that will go down well at Mourneview Park as the fans remember that Gary Hamilton's team also played in orange shirts when they beat Ballymena United to lift the Cup two years ago.

If any further omens are being sought down in County Armagh, one more comes in the fact that Glenavon's 1992 Irish Cup triumph over Linfield came while wearing their changed colours, although that time they wore white shirts when Gerard McMahon's winner took the silverware back to Lurgan.

Already, however, there has been a case of lightening striking twice after Glenavon beat Crusaders in Friday night's semi-final - just as they did in 2014.

The night belonged to Kevin Braniff, who scored all four of Glenavon's goals in their 4-3 win.

Three times the Crues led, but Braniff equalised each time before netting the winner with 12 minutes to go to end the north Belfast outfit's hopes of ending the season with a league and cup double.

"It was such a great night," said Braniff.

"Three times we were behind and to come back like we did shows the character in the squad and to get to the final is unbelievable for the fans.

"The character in the changing room, it doesn't matter if we go a goal down we always fancy ourselves to get back into the game.

"We still have a job to do in the league, we've a game on Tuesday night and we want to make sure that we finish third."

Having Glenavon and Linfield in the Irish Cup final could also simplify the equation when it comes to European qualification. If they both finish in the top three in the league - currently Linfield are second and Glenavon third - they will be guaranteed a place in Europe.

If that happens and Dungannon, who sit seventh at present, stay there then the European play-off will only involve three teams: Cliftonville, Coleraine and Glentoran.

Belfast Telegraph

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