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Jim Cleary: Irish Cup crown would be a huge step forward in Glentoran progress

 

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Spot on: Jim Cleary’s penalty gave Glentoran a 1-0 win over Glenavon in the 1988 final

Spot on: Jim Cleary’s penalty gave Glentoran a 1-0 win over Glenavon in the 1988 final

Jim Cleary

Jim Cleary

Master at work: Jim Cleary in action in the 1987 final

Master at work: Jim Cleary in action in the 1987 final

Spot on: Jim Cleary’s penalty gave Glentoran a 1-0 win over Glenavon in the 1988 final

Former midfield maestro Jim Cleary knows a thing or two about winning trophies and believes Glentoran can end their five-year drought in tonight's Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup final showdown against Ballymena United at Windsor Park.

Mick McDermott's boys squeezed past Cliftonville in a tense semi-final penalty shoot-out on Monday which punched their ticket to the final for the first time since 2015.

With a major trophy and a lucrative European place now dangling tantalisingly, the east Belfast team have the chance to continue their renaissance under McDermott and his trusty lieutenant, Paul 'Windy' Millar.