Belfast Telegraph

Cup hero Tuffey was motivated by the desire to repay faith shown in him by Mourneview bosses

By Graham luney

Glenavon goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey described the feeling of his first Irish Cup success as "absolutely sensational". The Lurgan Blues number one, who has been the most consistent shot-stopper in the Danske Bank Premiership this season, produced more heroics in the Irish Cup final to haunt his old club Linfield.

Stunning saves from Stephen Lowry and Aaron Burns contributed to the Blues' downfall while Kevin Braniff and Andy Hall found a way past Gareth Deane at the other end. The eight times capped Northern Ireland international was given efficient protection from a composed back four but when called into action Tuffey showed his class.

"It's a great day, absolutely unbelievable," said the 29-year-old, who was in tears at the finish.

"It's my first Irish Cup winner's medal and it's absolutely sensational. It's been an unbelievable season for me.

"I owe Glenavon, Gary (Hamilton) and Paul (Millar) so much and I just want to repay the faith they have shown in me when I play.

"Hopefully I'm starting to chip away at that and I've another big season coming up. It's not good enough to do it for one season, you have to perform consistently and I'm looking forward to getting going again."

The bitter irony for Linfield fans is that Tuffey was allowed to leave the club a year ago.

"I know it was a former club I was facing but you play who's in front of you and it was an Irish Cup final, a special occasion for me as it was my first one," added Tuffey.

"It would probably be unfair to pick out individuals. I thought we were excellent and we set out our stall early doors. We knew what we wanted to do and we stuck to the game plan.

"The back four were terrific but we also took our chances. Psychologically, those goals are massive and to score literally at the end of the first half was a perfect boost for us.

"It's been an unbelievable year and we will enjoy the next few days but we won't get carried away and it will be back to hard work in the summer."

While Tuffey cherished his first Cup winner's medal, Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton gave his to Declan 'Fabio' O'Brien who missed out on making the 16-man squad.

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