Mum's words of wisdom ring in Kane's ear as he claims Glens winner
Glentoran 1 Portadown 0
Published 09/04/2013 | 07:59
Marcus Kane broke the club's dressing room code to send a text message to his mother before heading Glentoran into their first Irish Cup final in seven years.
It was, however, her words of wisdom that lifted the 21-year-old and helped him go from zero to hero after being left out of the starting line-up.
Kane started three of the Glens' last four league games, but manager Eddie Patterson dropped him to the bench for the semi final clash with Portadown.
With Stephen Carson suffering from illness, Patterson turned to the former Linfield man with 15 minutes to go and the scoreline locked at 0-0.
Just three minutes later Kane got his head to Richard Clarke's corner and sent the ball into the net to seal the east Belfast club's place in their first final since losing to the Blues in 2006.
"I have to admit I was in the toilet and I was texting – because we're not allowed our phones on in the dressing room," revealed Kane.
"I was texting to tell people I wasn't playing and I was a wee bit gutted.
"Then I got a text message from my mummy and she was a wee bit sentimental. She said 'keep your chin up, you might get on'.
"I knew I had to focus anyway because you can't have passengers going into a game.
"Luckily enough I got on and scored the goal."
And if Kane's pre-match motivation was unorthodox, it was nothing compared to his finish, with the ball going in off his ear.
"My ear was sore and it was still ringing for a while after the game," said Kane.
"I didn't actually see the ball going into the net.
"I made a diagonal run towards the front post and just got my head to the ball and then saw the fans cheering in the stand and went over to celebrate. That was the first I knew it had gone in – when the fans were celebrating – and then Jimmy Callacher came running towards me like a maniac. I think he was trying to claim it.
"It's amazing, the greatest feeling I have ever had as a player.
"It was great to see the fans cheering again because it hasn't happened for a while. It's really, really good."
With Cliftonville on the cusp of Premiership title glory, facing the Reds in the Irish Cup final will be enough to guarantee a return to European football for the Glens, after missing out last term.
With that will come a major financial bonanza, which is much needed by the Oval outfit after a series of short-term cash flow issues led to wages being paid late on a number of occasions this season.
"The big thing is, the size of the crowd that was at the semi-final with treble, maybe quadruple when it comes to Cup final day," said Glens boss Patterson.
"Before that we have two home games and hopefully we'll get them through the gate, because that is much needed revenue for the club.
"That's the reason why it's such a big, big achievement by the players, to enable the club to get some revenue in.
"For me to get to the final with this club, such a massive club, it's absolutely fantastic and Europe is another big revenue booster for us."
Portadown could – and probably should – have won the game even before Kane entered the fray.
Mark Clarke's short backpass gifted Darren Murray a gilt-edged chance eight minutes into the second half, but instead of finding the net the striker's attempted chip off Elliott Morris drifted wide of the goal and the final whistle effectively ended the Ports' season.
"Murray had the best chance of the game, should have scored, didn't take it and that ultimately cost us the match," said Ports manager Ronnie McFall.
"I thought we were on top at that stage and that's where we lost it.
"It's been the story of our season. At times in matches we've been on top, created chances and haven't taken them and then conceded a stupid goal at the other end."