Belfast Telegraph

Philip Lowry convinced Crusaders can stay on trophy trail after Irish Cup win

Get in: Philip Lowry is congratulated by Jordan Owens
Get in: Philip Lowry is congratulated by Jordan Owens

By Graham Luney

Philip Lowry says he's confident Crusaders can stay on the glory trail after placing the Irish Cup alongside the County Antrim Shield in the Seaview trophy cabinet.

Lowry's early second half goal contributed to a comfortable 3-0 final win over Ballinamallard United and it helped him pocket a fourth winner's medal after grabbing three with Linfield.

It was also the midfielder's second Irish Cup final goal after netting in the 2010 decider.

The 29-year-old was a real driving force for the Crues, breaking up Mallards attacks and stretching their defence.

Jordan Owens and substitute Ross Clarke also netted, ensuring the Crues bank a Europa League spot, and Lowry believes trophies will keep coming to the Shore Road.

"When I was at Linfield it was all Blues and Glens but that's gone now," said the former Institute ace. "Crusaders are right up there, they set the standards and everything is moving in the right direction on and off the pitch.

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"Take a walk around Seaview and you'll see how fast things are moving. We have a great core of Crusaders men but quality has been added to that. The sky is the limit for this club. Their record over the last 10 years is testament to the work of Stephen and Jeff (Spiers) in the players they bring to the club.

"They buy into the ethos of Crusaders. There's a mindset of it's us against the rest and it's working. Everything is moving forward. When I was at Linfield, Crusaders were considered a good cup side but now they are a juggernaut of an Irish League club challenging for the big trophies.

"I've been lucky to play in a powerhouse Linfield team when we won three on the trot but we have struggled at Crusaders. Everyone pulled together when we got to the final and we felt this had to be our year."

He added: "You can get an easy passage to the final but we certainly didn't have that and Billy Joe Burns' winner against Linfield gave us more belief."

Lowry was thrilled to score on the big stage once again but took greater satisfaction from a convincing team effort.

"Scoring early was our dream start but then we went into our shell a bit," he said.

"At half time we had a few choice words and scoring so early in the second half set us on the way. It was game over for them as it suited us to sit in and hit them on the counter-attack."

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