Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Cliftonville fans have told us we'll be legends if we deliver Irish Cup, say Reds duo

Gareth Hanna

By Gareth Hanna

They may not be native to north Belfast, but Harry Fay and Chris Curran know all about Cliftonville's recent frustrations with the Irish Cup.

The Reds haven't lifted the trophy since 1979 - and that's a fact the current squad and staff are rarely allowed to forget.

Assistant manager Fay was brought to the club with boss Barry Gray last summer, and even on the very day they arrived at Solitude, the Portadown man says he was made well aware of a certain priority.

"The Cliftonville supporters told us if we deliver the Irish Cup, we'll be legends." 👊🏻🔴⚪ READ AND WATCH MORE:...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Friday, May 4, 2018

"We're constantly reminded of it," he smiled. "The first night me and Barry took the job, the supporters told us if we deliver the Irish Cup, we'll be legends. We've still got a big, big game in front of us but a club like Cliftonville should have had more Irish Cups in recent years.

"The Irish League is a great product. There's a massive buzz around Coleraine and the Red Army will be out in number as well. It will be a good game of football but at the end of the day, unless you're coming away with that Cup, it's a bad day."

Captain Chris Curran, also a blow-in of sorts having arrived from Ballinamallard back in 2013, is determined to be the one to pick up the trophy on Saturday afternoon for his club's loyal fans.

He said: "You're made aware of it by supporters and everything surrounding the club. You see it all over social media - this 39 year hoodoo. You don't think about it too much. We're busy keeping our head down in training and focusing on the game itself.

"We are aware it's a long time for our supporters not to have won an Irish Cup and we want to put that right for them."

The last time the Reds reached the final was back in 2013, when they were beaten by Glentoran. Since Curran arrived that summer, a quarter-final spot is as good as it has got.

So this is all new territory for the Reds skipper.

h Cup Presser_005.jpg
Cliftonville Captain Chris Curran and assistant manager Harry Fay know exactly what an Irish Cup win would mean to their club.

"You try not to get carried away with the hype and the buzz but the closer it comes to Saturday, there will be that excitement," he said. "It's brilliant. Everybody talks about how good a day it is - I can't wait to be a part of it and hopefully we come out the right side of it."

At the beginning of the season, it's fair to say some quarters were predicting an unhappy marriage between the new management team and the squad, but Curran says the romance is blossoming just in time for the Cup decider.

"The relationship there is really strong," he said. "It did take time to develop but he knows us and we know him a lot better. There's a trust there that wasn't there at the very beginning and took time to build. He knows the squad and how he wants us to play. It's up to us to execute that."

On the pitch, with players like Joe Gormley and Rory Donnelly up top, Curran's thoughts are simple.

He said: "Those are the players that people pay to watch and with those boys up front, we have a chance against anybody. They've proven that against the top sides. For players like me it's simple - give them the ball and more times than not, they'll produce."

If any player in red can come up with the goods on Saturday, they'll be written deep into Solitude folklore and the hearts of the Cliftonville support.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


From Belfast Telegraph