Belfast Telegraph

Cup run would turn Glentoran's season around, says Garrett

 

By Alex Mills

Glentoran defender Willie Garrett admits his team's Tennent's Irish Cup clash against Lurgan Celtic at Knockramer Park today is a 'banana skin' tie.

The 26-year-old has bravely battled his way back to fitness following a nightmare two years of injury, which required two operations to repair a serious cruciate knee ligament problem.

He knows what it's like to be part of an Irish Cup-winning team, having played in Glentoran's 2015 victory over Portadown.

But he refuses to let his mind run riot on another glamorous day out in early May, preferring to focus on his club's immediate task.

"I don't know a lot about Lurgan Celtic, but the boss will have us well briefed," said Garrett. "It's an early kick-off, so it gives us the chance to get the job done before most of the other ties start."

Lurgan Celtic, of course, were the big giant killers a few years ago, making the short journey to Shamrock Park to send Portadown spinning out - a result that ultimately ended Ronnie McFall's 29-year association with the club.

Garrett is determined to prevent another Cup conquest and said: "We'll be giving them the respect they deserve. We'll approach the game the same as any other - in a professional manner. Our results haven't been great. In saying that, I don't know another club that could cope with injuries.

"Although we are starting to get a few boys back, Aaron Harmon and John McGuigan are still out long term.

"The Irish Cup now gives us the chance to save our season in many ways. Yes, we want to finish in the top six in the league, but a good Cup run would be a massive boost. Getting into European football is our ultimate aim. Everyone know it brings huge financial rewards.

"I'm just relieved to be back and playing again. I sustained my initial injury back in November 2015, so it's been a long road."

Garrett played a huge part in the Boxing Day win over Linfield at The Oval - the first time they had beaten their bitter rivals in east Belfast for six years.

"That was a massive result," he said. "I was thrilled for the fans. We gained a lot of confidence from the result. We were disappointed we couldn't carry the momentum into another win at Dungannon Swifts, but at least we didn't lose."

The game against Warrenpoint was abandoned in midweek due to horrendous weather conditions. Garrett added: "We were battered by the weather in the first half and didn't get the chance of playing with the wind at our backs. I've no doubt we would have won."

• Warrenpoint Town have signed former Portadown skipper Keith O'Hara and youngster Deane Watters who was at Dundalk.

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