Rory to the four for Cliftonville
If Eddie Patterson is relying on experience to catapult his side to Irish Cup glory tomorrow he will be looking no further than Rory Hamill.
Hamill will make history if he becomes the first player to play in an Irish Cup final for four different clubs.
The former Northern Ireland international has three winners medals and he counts himself very fortunate to boast that impressive collection.
David Jeffrey guided Linfield to Irish Cup glory four times but never won it as a player.
“You can’t play in enough cup finals!” said Hamill. “Jonty (Barry Johnston) and big Deckie (Declan O’Hara) have also been there with Coleraine and it is a big occasion.
“I’ve been very fortunate to make it to a seventh final and with a fourth team. Some people would say if I had stayed at Glentoran I could have tallied up those appearances but it is good to get there with different personnel and with clubs who may not have a big cup pedigree.
“It’s extra special when you are at a club which has not made the final in a long time. Dungannon Swifts had never won it in their history and Coleraine hadn’t won it in a long time.
“Fifty years down the line you want to be remembered as being part of something that was special. It’s a big moment in the history of this club as the cup hasn’t been won in 30 years and 1998 was a bit of a non-starter.
“It’s great to be involved with such a good bunch of lads and a management team which believes in us. Every cup final is different and while there will always be a bit of apprehension you don’t want to to make it a no-show.
“Teamwork is very important and hopefully we can show the qualities that have got us to the final. Hopefully this cup final will show what this club is all about — winning major trophies.
“Any cup final I have been involved in has involved one of the Big Two teams so this is a refreshing change.”
Hamill has been on the periphery of the Reds squad for much of the season but he could sign off the campaign in style.
“It’s been a season of ups and downs but I’m greedy to play football,” he added.
“I’m not happy on the sidelines as I’m eager to get on and I do get frustrated.
“That’s just the boy in me — as a child growing up all I wanted to do was play football.
“That hasn’t left me and when it does I know it will be time to hang up my boots. I’m sure Eddie (Patterson) would rather have a player that is desperate to play rather than have one who is happy to just sit on the bench. You need to have competition for places and players that are eager to play.”
Hamill’s hunger for silverware is as insatiable as ever.