Belfast Telegraph

Hall is on a mission to cap his rise with Cup triumph

By Graham Luney

One year ago, Andy Hall was with Championship One side Bangor battling to reach the Danske Bank Premiership through the play-offs.

And Warrenpoint Town retained their top-flight status after a tense penalty shoot-out, but 12 months on Barry Gray's side have a sinking feeling while Hall is relishing the biggest game of his career. The 26-year-old winger has been one of Glenavon's sparkling gems this season and any doubts he would struggle to adapt to life in the Premiership have been booted into touch.

After helping the Lurgan Blues secure a Europa League spot through an impressive third-placed finish, Hall wants an Irish Cup final victory over Linfield tomorrow to sign off a memorable season in real style.

"I think back to this time a year ago when I was involved in a play-off with Bangor and now I'm excited about appearing in an Irish Cup final," said Hall, who can rely on the loyal support at Windsor Park from his parents, two sisters and girlfriend Adele.

"I'm massively looking forward to it as it's a completely new experience as the furthest I have been in this competition is the quarter-final stage with Bangor. To reach the semi-final was special and now after a great performance against the Crues we are relishing this huge chance to win a major trophy.

"I'll be a bit nervous in the morning, no doubt, but once the match gets under way I'll settle down and then all you can do is try your best, if selected."

The Cup final could be a real classic between two of the league's most dangerous attacking sides and Hall could provide the creative spark that makes the difference.

"Linfield haven't won the Irish Cup in a few years and you would expect them to be very motivated," he added. "David (Healy) has got them playing great football since their poor November and they have been on a great run of results. But we also know that on our day we can match anyone and we showed in the semi-final how strong and dangerous we can be.

"Both sides have match-winners, strong defences and players that can prevent and create goals. The previous meetings between the teams have been quite high scoring affairs and this could be another classic.

"Qualifying for Europe was the icing on the cake for us and a nice reward for the good football we have played. There's a big financial reward for reaching Europe but players want to win things, it's why we play the game and the lads from 2014 are still buzzing from that Irish Cup win."

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