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How words of wisdom from dad John helped Robbie McDaid become Glentoran's Irish Cup match winner

 

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Robbie McDaid celebrates scoring the winner in the Irish Cup final

Robbie McDaid celebrates scoring the winner in the Irish Cup final

Robbie McDaid celebrates scoring the winner in the Irish Cup final

Some wise words from former Glentoran player John McDaid inspired his son Robbie to become the Irish Cup Final match winner at Windsor Park.

McDaid grew up a Glens supporter because of his dad and it was a major reason for the striker signing for the Oval outfit when he returned to Northern Ireland from English football in 2017.

Since then, the 23-year-old has been outstanding and showed his quality with a cool extra-time finish against Ballymena United to join the likes of Jim Cleary, Glen Little and Michael Halliday as Irish Cup-winning goalscorers for the east Belfast side.

"My dad spoke to me before the game," he explains. "Usually before I run out the door, he'll say something and this time it was, 'You've got a chance to write yourself into the history books and do something you've always wanted to do'.

"With his injury, he missed out on the 1982 Final for the Glens so it's nice for me to go now and put that piece of the puzzle in and bring the trophy home for him.

"My dad has brought me up loving Glentoran Football Club and for me to be able to follow the likes of Jimmy Cleary and all those guys - the legends - was unbelievable."

McDaid says he was delighted to land an extra ticket for the game courtesy of goalkeeper Marijan Antolovic.

He said: "My dad, John, my mum, Wendy, and my girlfriend, Sophie, were at the Final. As soon as I heard we were getting two tickets each, I was straight over to big Marijan Antolovic. I knew his family weren't coming over from Croatia in the space of a few days!"

Despite his heroics, McDaid admits he was "useless" for the majority of the game but, having netted against Queen's University, Crusaders and Cliftonville in the previous three rounds of the competition, he was delighted to come up trumps when it mattered.

"Up until the point of the goal, I was useless," he adds. "I probably needed it just to get people off my back.

"It's the sort of thing you dream of. I had a taste of a Cup Final before I left for England when I was with Glenavon when I was 16 or 17 and I thought to myself then I'd love to be involved in it and win it some day. I've been lucky enough now to score the winner in an Irish Cup Final.

"Ciaran (O'Connor) changed the games in the Semi-Final and the Final when he came on. He's been patient and probably unlucky not to start and was strong, direct and physical and he popped up with the assist for myself.

"My old team-mate at Glentoran Curtis Allen always told me, 'You only need one chance' and he was perfect like that. Curtis himself would say there were games when he didn't touch the ball but popped up with the winner and everybody says he was brilliant.

"I know I was useless until the goal but I'll take it. As a striker, I have to try to be alert and sniff out chances the whole game.

"When it goes to extra-time, you have heavy legs but Ballymena were the same. When Ciaran cut the ball back, thankfully it sat there for me and I tucked it away."

On the future for his beloved Glentoran, McDaid states: "The sky's the limit. We are doing things properly. All the players are buying into it and that's the main thing.

"You can have the best set-up in the world but if the boys aren't buying into it, you don't really stand a chance.

"I'm sure there will be new boys coming in over the summer and they'll buy into it as well. We have to look at it now that Glentoran Football Club are back."

Belfast Telegraph