Glentoran win Irish Cup Final 2015 against Portadown
Glentoran 1 Portadown 0
Glentoran have lifted the Irish Cup for the 22nd time as they battled Portadown at the Oval Stadium.
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The winner of today’s Irish Cup Final (2.30pm) hits the jackpot while the loser goes home with nothing.
Glentoran's David Scullion scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Portadown.
Cup glory and Europa League qualification banking at least £170,000 awaits the winners so the pressure is on big time but Elliott Morris is confident the east Belfast boys can become heroes again. The Glens conquered Cliftonville against the odds in the 2013 decider and two years on the goalkeeper is hoping red, green and black ribbons will be back around the glittering prize tonight. Skipper Morris admits: “This whole season relies on this one game and that’s just how it is.”
He added: “I’ve played in four Irish Cup finals and I know we won’t enjoy it until after the game because there is so much pressure involved but our young players can rise to the challenge.
“If you win the tophy it’s a fantastic day, if you lose it it’s a bad, bad day.
“The win in 2013 was my best Irish Cup memory because we battled through financial difficulties at the club and got the job done.”
Ports midfielder Robert Garrett said: “I’ve played in three Irish Cup Finals with Linfield and won three and I don’t want to know what the losing feeling is like.”
Experience - that's the biggest difference between Glentoran's class of 2013 and 2015
Loyal servant and skipper Elliott Morris is still the first name on the teamsheet but seasoned performers jumped ship after the glorious win over Cliftonville two years ago, leaving boss Eddie Patterson to place his faith in emerging young talent.
Those youthful players have risen to the challenge and kept boys like Stephen McAlorum and Morris feeling young.
Morris, who has played in four Irish Cup deciders, says he never expected the fairytale success in 2013 to catapult the club to major honours though he remains disappointed that the squad wasn't bolstered by a few wise old heads.
"It is a very different set-up for us this time round and the financial difficulties we had in 2013 are well documented," said the Glens number one.
"Everything is a lot smoother now behind the scenes but it was a difficult time.
"There was an eight-week period when the players weren't getting paid and we wanted reassurances from the board.
"We got them and it was a great achievement by us winning the Cup that season.
"There was a lot more experience in the team back then and more voices in the changing room.
"We had the likes of Wardy (Sean Ward), Nicky (Colin Nixon) and Carsy (Stephen Carson) and Richard Clarke as well but young kids have no fear and hopefully they will show that in the final and remind us all of how good they are.
"We knew Andy Waterworth's contract was up and you hear things in the changing room so we were expecting some of the departures and Carsy retired.
"I didn't expect us to go on and challenge for other Irish League titles and Cups, not straight away. I expected a bit more backing to the playing squad to strengthen the team because wages were freed up when boys left. We focused on young players which has worked out well for us but you still need experience.
"But I am optimistic about the future. On the playing side of things we are not doing a bad job, we are doing okay. If we win the Cup there is financial gain and hopefully we can strengthen the squad and go again."
Morris wasn't jumping for joy when he discovered the final was set for The Oval.
"It's crazy that we don't have a good stadium that can accommodate all the fans who want to attend and to be fair, it's a shambles," he added.
"Why would we want to stop fans getting in - it is their day and always has been."