| 12.7°C Belfast

Curtis Allen: I'm gutted to be missing Irish Cup semi-final after Glentoran contract expiry



Coleraine striker Curtis Allen

Coleraine striker Curtis Allen

Coleraine striker Curtis Allen

Coleraine striker Curtis Allen says his personal Irish Cup pain hurts, but he's backing the Bannsiders to do the business without him.

The 32-year-old says his dream of being involved in Monday's semi-finals and a possible decider appears to have gone up in smoke.

Allen, who had been on loan, has been left deeply frustrated after his contract was not extended at Glentoran, making him ineligible when the tournament resumes.

Oran Kearney's men face Ballymena United before Glentoran take on Cliftonville at Windsor Park in the semi-final shoot-outs.

Allen, who won the Irish Cup with Glentoran, could not have played against the east Belfast side but to be ruled out of both games is a bitter blow.

"Coleraine reassured me they were on the case but I haven't heard anything so I'm not expecting to play in the semi-final," said the former Linfield ace.

"I am really frustrated because I have had a horrible season with injuries, but the move to Coleraine excited me and the potential to be involved in a semi-final or final was very exciting.

"A player's career is short and you don't get many opportunities like this so I'm disappointed but it's out of my hands.

"The Irish Cup is a special competition and my memories of it are mixed, having won a final and been left out of them.

"I was really relishing the chance to have another big shot at it but it's not looking like it is going to happen, unless there is a dramatic development in the next few days. I always knew I couldn't play against Glentoran but I was still hoping to finish a frustrating campaign for me with a special Irish Cup moment with Coleraine."

Allen added: “There was no financial cost, all the Glens had to do was extend the contract for a month. I have to live with the decision and I’ll just have to help the lads while someone else gets a special Irish Cup experience.

“Although I won the Cup with Glentoran I was left out of two finals while at Linfield, despite playing in the semis. Maybe next year I’ll get another crack at it.

“Time is running out and it’s not looking good for me.”

Relations between clubs became strained during talks over how to curtail the season, but the Glens maintain they have simply made a footballing decision.

With his Glentoran contract expiring on June 30, and his Coleraine deal not beginning until after the current season, Allen is officially without a club for the remainder of the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 campaign. But the experienced goal-getter, a second-half substitute in the League Cup final victory over Crusaders, remains hungry to help Coleraine lift the blue riband prize.

“The lads have come back in really good shape,” he added. “Oran didn’t say too much to the players apart from to keep ourselves in good physical condition.

“We are disappointed over how the league finished but it was exceptional circumstances and we are focused on the Cup.

“Coleraine’s players have lifted the trophy before and know what needs to be done. The fans might not be there in big numbers but it’s still a big prize to go for.

“Qualifying for Europe has taken the pressure off us.”

Belfast Telegraph