Jonny Addis is living out a dream by playing for Glentoran in Irish Cup final
Jonny Addis has admitted that he'd have laughed at anyone who suggested to him a couple of years ago that he'd end up playing for Glentoran in an Irish Cup final.
It's no joke though and the 22-year-old is relishing the occasion as he prepares to face Portadown at The Oval on Saturday - even though he believes the glamour game should be taking place elsewhere.
When Windsor Park was ruled out after structural damage was discovered in the West Stand, the Irish FA's desire to keep the end-of-season showpiece within what they termed 'the football family' led to them selecting the Glens' home ground as the venue.
Addis, who joined the east Belfast outfit from Carrick Rangers in the summer of 2013, believes that rather than benefiting from playing at The Oval, it will take the shine off the big day for him and his team-mates.
"It's an Irish Cup final and wherever you are playing it's going to be a great occasion, but I would have preferred it to have been somewhere else," he said.
"I think it takes away from the occasion when you're coming to The Oval to play it. It will feel like just another home game.
"I do know that our club have tried to do all they can to push for the match to be at the more suitable venue and the Kingspan Stadium was one of those options.
"I think it would have been great for football in general in this country to go somewhere different and it might have encouraged different fans to come and have a look at the big occasion. It's disappointing in some ways, but it's a Cup final and we'll enjoy it."
Glens boss Eddie Patterson raised some eyebrows when he plucked Addis from Championship football and thrust him into the Premiership big time at The Oval.
He has more than proved himself though and after almost 80 appearances for the club, in a number of positions, he now has an Irish Cup final to look forward to, whereas when the Glens lifted the Cup after beating Cliftonville two years ago, he was playing in a tame end-of-season tie for Carrick.
"It's great. A couple of years ago if you'd said to me I was going to be playing in an Irish Cup final for Glentoran I'd have probably laughed in your face," said Addis.
"Two years ago on Irish Cup final day I was playing for Carrick Rangers away to Institute.
"Now that I am here it's a big occasion for me and it's going to be a big day and I'm really looking forward to it and it's something that I am going to relish."
The acquisition of Addis has been a smart move for Patterson. Although signed primarily as a striker, his versatility has led to the manager using him in the centre of defence at full-back and more recently in midfield.
Like anyone, on Cup final day Addis is prepared to play anywhere, but that's the norm for him.
"I actually enjoy moving around," he said.
"As stupid as that sounds sometimes it's enjoyable for me to experience playing in different positions, but I know long-term there has to be stability in where I am going to play if I am going to cement a place in the team for a number of years. I am going to have to settle down on a position and I think centre-half looks like where it's going to be."
The Glens' 2013 Cup success was seen as a victory over adversity, when major financial constraints not only saw players go without wages for a period, they even stopped training at one point midway through the season.
Addis believes that the club's recovery has brought about major positives that can see Glentoran benefit for the next decade.
"I probably wouldn't be here if we weren't in the financial situation we are, where Eddie has had to take a few risks with people, but I think there are positives that have come out of it," he said.
"We wouldn't be sitting with Kym Nelson, Danny McKee, Jordan Stewart, Stephen Gordon and Willie Garrett - all these young players who have come through the reserve set-up - and that's one of the benefits of being forced into that where Eddie has had to dip into the reserves to look for players.
"This can be the basis of this club for the next 10 years."