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Rory's painful return

Published 03/04/2008

The Ballymena Showgrounds is the last place Rory Hamill wants to visit on Saturday but Donegal Celtic, as they prepare to resume their league campaign against Tommy Wright's side, must begin the painful process of flushing their Irish Cup despair out of their system.

At the second time of asking Coleraine overcame the west-Belfast side to book a cup final showdown with Linfield and a fourth winners' medal isn't coming to the Hamill household just yet. The 31-year-old, who returned to haunt his Glentoran team-mates at the quarter-final stage, admits the 2-1 defeat to the Bannsiders is "a hard pill to swallow" but he expects the Hoops to regroup and come out fighting.

"There's no doubt it's a massive blow for everyone connected with the club," said Hamill. "It would have been very sweet to walk out in the final knowing you were alongside a group of players it would have meant so much to.

"But this club is making tremendous strides forward and I want to keep my head down and help them win games.

"I've lost semi-finals with every club I have been with apart from Dungannon Swifts - with Coleraine, Ballymena United, Glentoran and now Donegal Celtic.

"Despite my two winners' medals with the Glens and one with Coleraine I know what it is like to come so close and miss out. Ballymena has never been a good pitch to me but I've a lot of time for the club and I'm not blaming anyone. We've had a defeat and a draw there so we must get a win sometime. It would have been an honour to be in the final with DC but the players can be proud of how well they performed and now quickly focus on collecting vital league points."

Belfast Telegraph

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