Belfast Telegraph

Glenn Ferguson’s big dream: to bow out with a bang

Glenn Ferguson is fired up for his final shot at Irish Cup glory.

The Lisburn Distillery striker is hanging up his golden boots at the end of the season, but not before he hopes to guide the Whites to some long-awaited silverware.

Picture the scene — in the final game of his legendary career, ‘Spike’ drills in the winner against Linfield in the 89th minute to bring the JJB Sports Irish Cup to Ballyskeagh.

It would be a fairytale finish to a phenomenal career that might even bring a tear to the eye of a few sensitive Linfield supporters!

It may be an unlikely scenario, but it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility the way Tommy Wright’s side are performing this season.

In fact they may have a trophy in the bag before we reach Irish Cup final day in May as the Whites take on either Ballymena United or Crusaders in the semi-finals of the Co-operative Insurance Cup next month.

Ferguson has five Irish Cup winners medals — four with Linfield and one with Glenavon — but the natural born winner and goal-getter hasn’t given up on adding to that stunning collection.

Distillery’s first hurdle is a potentially tricky one, at Dundela this afternoon (2pm), but the 41-year-old who has played more than 1,000 local games remains one of the most feared strikers in the league — and he hasn’t lost his appetite for silverware.

At Linfield, the former Ards and Glenavon striker was expected to pocket prizes so it goes without saying, that an Irish Cup success story with an unfancied Whites team would top the lot.

“It’s a nice thought, scoring in an Irish Cup final and scoring the winner to bow out of the game,” admitted ‘Spike’.

“We are some way off that happening so I’m not going to get too excited about it, but it would be a special achievement for Distillery to win the Irish Cup.

“It’s been more than a decade since they won something, but we won’t have any inferiority complex because anything can happen. I was looking at the teams we could have drawn in the Co-operative Insurance Cup and thinking ‘we’ve beaten them already, nothing to fear.’ It’s nice to get a break from the league and take a good shot at the cups.

“I know Mark Snodden (Dundela manager) and Sammy McFadden in the backroom team. Dundela will be fired up to get a shock result and we will need to be focused on the job. You can only really concentrate on the Cup one round at a time.

“Dundela are no mugs, people have been at that club for a while and they have Craig McCracken who was at Linfield for a while. These teams raise their games against Premiership sides and we will have to respond to that.”

Five-times capped ex-Northern Ireland international Ferguson is the third highest scorer in the history of the local game, behind only Jimmy Jones and Joe Bambrick, but he has scored more Irish Cup goals than anyone else.

Players are involved in the game because they want to win trophies and Spike’s love affair with the Irish Cup has blossomed.

His game has never been about blistering pace, his footballing brain is as sharp as ever though and his experience has helped transform the Whites from basement battlers into a side with genuine top six ambitions.

“In England there is this obsession with the Champions League, but the Irish Cup here remains very special to everyone,” he added.

“Linfield have the consistency needed to win titles, but so many teams can win the Cup and it’s always a memorable day for the supporters, coming to the game on buses and enjoying the atmosphere.

“It’s every player’s dream to make it to an Irish Cup final and I’m not finished dreaming yet.”

Belfast Telegraph

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