Colin Nixon boasts an Irish Cup medal haul that the vast majority of those who will join him in sixth round action today can only dream of.
The Glentoran defender, however, isn’t about to settle for ending his career without adding to his current tally of five wins.
It is 15 years since Nixon first appeared in the end of season showpiece, when the Glens beat Glenavon 1-0 thanks to a Glen Little goal. It is the seven years since the trophy last resided at the Oval and that club’s record appearance holder wants to end the drought.
“I’ve some great memories from the Irish Cup having won it five times — and one or two not so good,” said Nixon.
“The one final I lost I broke a bone in my back, but still managed to play the full second-half.
“The finals have all been great occasions.
“I remember walking out for the my first one and looking round to see the North Stand filled with Glenmen and the old Kop terracing too.
“It’s a great competition, a very special competition and one that’s very dear to me.
“It’s a long time now since we won it, too long really and that’s why we are putting a lot of importance on the Irish Cup this season.”
Standing between the Glens and a place in the quarter-final draw are Championship side Loughgall.
A year ago a meeting with the County Armagh side would have been a much more daunting prospect — even for a team playing its football in the upper echelons of the Premiership — but Lakeview Park isn’t as happy a place nowadays.
A pay freeze has led to the departures of many of Niall Currie’s top players, leaving a gaping whole in his first-team squad that he can only fill with youngsters.
Their cup rivals financial plight is something that the Glens can identify with as this season they have sailed perilously close to the wind that might have blown them out of business, only for a mystery benefactor to keep the taxman — with winding up order an all — away from the door just last month.
While nobody at the Oval is ready to give up on the league title, winning the Irish Cup would at least see any remaining clouds of doom surrounding east-Belfast take on a silver lining.
“With where we’ve come from this season things have been very difficult and the club’s problems have been well documented,” said Nixon.
“The lads have been a bit down over the last couple of weeks because our performances haven’t been good, but a win against Loughgall and a place in the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup could give us a big boost for the rest of the season.
“We’re not giving up the chase in the league, we’ll fight to the very end, but we’ll be going out to try to win the Irish Cup as well because it’s time we won it again.”