| 20.9°C Belfast

Marcus Kane: I wanted to reach the Irish Cup final to make Harrie proud - now I'm out to lift the trophy for amazing Glentoran support


Close

Marcus Kane will lead Glentoran into tomorrow’s Irish Cup final

Marcus Kane will lead Glentoran into tomorrow’s Irish Cup final

Proud dad: Marcus Kane with wife Aimee and daughter Mollie

Proud dad: Marcus Kane with wife Aimee and daughter Mollie

Marcus Kane will lead Glentoran into tomorrow’s Irish Cup final

Marcus Kane is as honest off the pitch as he is on it. Renowned for his committed performances and a warm nature, the Glentoran captain's world fell apart in December when he and his wife Aimee lost their new baby son Harrie.

It was heartbreaking for Marcus and Aimee, who had been looking forward to bringing little Harrie home to join daughter Mollie for a special Christmas.

How do you find strength after a tragedy like that? In a heart-rending interview ahead of tomorrow night's Irish Cup final against Ballymena United at Windsor Park, Kane revealed that his family and all at Glentoran Football Club have been by his and Aimee's side throughout.

While coming to terms with his own grief, in a gesture that says everything you need to know about one of the Irish League's most inspirational skippers, a charity called 'Hike for Harrie' was set up to help others going through the pain his family were suffering and to raise awareness and funds for Bereavement Care at the Royal Maternity Hospital in Belfast. At £50,000 it has hit five times the original £10,000 target.

The thought of Harrie is with his dad every day, and on Monday night Kane admits his emotions poured out as Glentoran beat Cliftonville 7-6 in a thrilling penalty shoot-out following a 1-1 draw after extra-time.

"My emotions have been up and down and still are. I like football because I can escape. For 90 minutes I can get my head focused on something else, though on Monday my emotions spilled out a bit, especially after it was over," explained Kane.

"I wanted to make Harrie proud and get into the final and have a chance to lift the Cup. We did it the hard way and I am so proud of everybody at the club. They have been so supportive throughout the last eight months, especially with raising money and awareness.

"The Hike for Harrie charity drive was the Glentoran media team's idea and we are now sitting at around £50,000 all in, so it has been fantastic.

You can support the #HikeForHarrie by visiting the JustGiving page here.

"It wasn't even about the money, but the money does go a long way for the maternity ward and the bereavement care that goes on (at Royal Victoria Hospital) that we didn't know about before all this happened. I had a platform to make people aware and to give people a little comfort who are going through this, and that meant a lot to me.

"This is a situation where it doesn't just affect yourself. It affects grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, everyone. Their support has been amazing and we know they were hurting as well. It's fantastic to have such a tight family."

With a limited number of family members allowed into tomorrow's final, Kane thought he would have just Aimee and Mollie in the stand at Windsor Park. That was until a wonderful gesture doubled his allocation.

"I have Aimee and Mollie coming, and two people who were getting tickets because they are volunteers around the club, Sam and Clifford, wanted to give their tickets to my parents, which was incredible," explained Kane, who started his career at Linfield.

"I was very emotional when I was told they wanted to give their tickets up so mum, dad, Aimee and Mollie will be in their own little bubble and can sit together.

Close

Marcus Kane wife Aimee and daughter Mollie

Marcus Kane wife Aimee and daughter Mollie

Marcus Kane wife Aimee and daughter Mollie

 

"Mollie loves going to the football. She went to watch the semi-final in the Westbourne Supporters' Club on Monday night and she was cheering us on. She had a little board, so when the goals were scored she would mark them down and every time a penalty went in during the shoot-out she would put down a tick and if there was a miss she would put down a cross.

"I would have loved to have had her as a mascot beside me for the final but just to have her there at all will be amazing."

In the extraordinary shoot-out victory over Cliftonville, Kane took and scored his first penalty since an Under-14s match in the Foyle Cup, pointing out he always had faith in his pal and goalkeeping team-mate Elliott Morris that he would come up trumps in the spot-kick showdown.

He laughs off suggestions by Ballymena boss David Jeffrey that the Glens are huge favourites, adding that the players who played 120 minutes versus Cliftonville will be able to do the same again tomorrow if required due to manager Mick McDermott's training regime.

Kane also feels a Cup win will do the Glentoran 'project' the power of good going forward. He has won it twice before with the club in 2013 and 2015. A 2020 triumph as captain would fulfil a long-held personal dream.

Belfast Telegraph