Belfast Telegraph

Breen drawing on experience of ex-Blues trio

By Stuart McKinley

There is one big motivating factor for Portadown defender Garry Breen ahead of today's Irish Cup final - silencing one of his work colleagues.

The particular colleague isn't just anyone. Former Portadown midfielder Michael Collins works alongside him and ever since the Ports beat Ballymena United in the semi-final he's been reminding Breen about the contrast between their medal collections.

Collins won both the league and Irish Cup with the Shamrock Park club during a six-year spell with the club, while Breen's cupboard is still bare - which is something he is determined to change, if only to get some peace at work.

"Mickey is there in the background, in my ear telling me that he has an Irish Cup medal and I'm going to have to get one," said Breen.

"He doesn't really stop. He's 100 miles an hour every day and he's been on at me every day that I've seen him.

"He's in my ear saying, 'I've won this, I'm a legend down there, they still sing songs about me, what do they do about you?'

"Hopefully I can win one and maybe keep him quiet for a while. That's just the incentive I need.

"He hasn't shut up about his league medals and Irish Cup medal. Hopefully I can get the Cup medal and then maybe a league medal next year and see what he comes back with then."

When he's had a quiet moment away from Collins' constant ear-bashing, Breen has been able to turn his thoughts to what Cup final day holds.

And that has led to him being in the ears of the Ports' three former Linfield players, Michael Gault, Robert Garrett and Mark McAllister, who have numerous Irish Cup final appearances between them.

"The build-up to the game is very exciting. The three lads who have come in from Linfield have been there and done it - more than once - and it's great just to ask them about it," said Breen.

"They are saying that it's a fantastic day and you don't want to be on the losing end.

"It's great to ask them questions about the day and they really get you up for it as well."

A first senior medal would go some way to making up for the disappointments Breen suffered earlier in his career.

The 26-year-old was released by Manchester City when the multi-million pound signings began to block the route to first-team football for the club's Academy graduates.

A move to Hereford United turned sour too, but he's now at home at Shamrock Park after previously putting a few extra miles on the clock.

"It was hard after I was released by Manchester City. You go from playing every day to getting a knock-back like that," he said.

"Sometimes in life though you take one step back to take two forward, but it was very tough.

"I moved to Hereford and it didn't really work out. It was probably a wrong decision.

"I love Portadown, I have loved every minute of my four years at the club and I am living in Belfast now.

"I would obviously like to be winning more, but hopefully we can put that right by winning the Irish Cup and then kick on from there.

"I am from Kilkenny and that's a two and a half to three hour drive away from Portadown.

"I did do it for six months and it did get to me - it drained me. I made the move up to Belfast and I didn't look back."

Belfast Telegraph


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