Belfast Telegraph

Glenavon v Linfield live: Stage is set for cracker of an Irish Cup final at Windsor Park

By Stuart McKinley

Andy Waterworth has a score to settle today, but not with Irish Cup final opponents Glenavon. In fact, it's not with anyone else.

The Linfield captain's motivation ahead of the Windsor Park showpiece is to put things right with himself.

In 2013, Waterworth was the Cup final hero, scoring twice in the decider - but that was with Glentoran. He crossed the Big Two divide just a matter of weeks later, in a deal that had been agreed the previous January.

His motivation was the opportunity to win more silverware, but while the Glens lifted the Cup again last season, Waterworth has yet to get his hands on a major trophy with the Blues.

Bluemen have endured four years of disappointment since their period of dominance that brought six doubles in seven seasons ended in 2012 and after turning 30 last month, Waterworth has a real fear of ending his Linfield career without a big prize.

"There is a part of me that feels we have let supporters down and let people down," said Waterworth.

"When you sign for Linfield you expect and demand to win leagues and at the very least be part of cup finals.

"We haven't done that for whatever reason. There is no point in feeling sorry for ourselves and saying we should have, but a major motivation for me is to bring success here and I would hate to be leaving here - and you never know when that might be - saying that I never won a major trophy.

"My complete motivation is to win trophies and if I don't I will consider myself a failure here.

"It's a massive club, the biggest club and if you don't win trophies there's a very quick turnover of players. For me it could be my last chance this year and next year to prove my worth."

Waterworth's memories of 2013 are clear and having that experience behind him will help the Blues skipper settle the nerves of those around him, with less than a handful of the expected starting XI having played in an Irish Cup final before.

"From the last time, I remember the weather, the noise, the pitch - everything. That's going to be multiplied now that we're playing in a new stadium. It gives you that certain bit of excitement and everything you want as a footballer," he added.

"It's important to manage that and manage the emotion, because if you get too much of that emotion it can take away from the objective of winning the Cup."

Belfast Telegraph


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