IRISH CUP FINAL: Linfield keeper Roy Carroll seeks more success

Roy Carroll

Roy Carroll

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When it comes to big game experience Roy Carroll has been there and bought the T-shirt.

The 39-year-old has played in some massive games across Europe during his spells with Manchester United and Olympiacos, as well as almost 50 games for Northern Ireland.

The big shot stopper has plenty of cup final experience under his belt and knows anything can happen in a one-off game.

“We’ve had a really good season and we hope we can finish the season off on a high,” said Carroll.

“Coleraine will be coming here full of confidence; it’s a one-off game.

“Anything can happen in a cup final. I’ve played in cup finals in Greece and England and it’s always tight.

“It’s one of those days whoever is man enough will win.

“I came on in one FA Cup final for Manchester United. Sir Alex dropped me just before the final because he said I hadn’t been performing well.

“I’d had a really good semi-final against Arsenal but he said he’d put me on if we were winning.

“He then put me on the last 15 minutes when we were winning 3-0 and that was unbelievable.

“As soon as it went to 3-0 I knew I was going on.

“The year after, I played the entire game against Arsenal and we lost on penalties, so I know what it’s like to win finals and lose finals - and it’s not nice losing them.

“I remember we were all over Arsenal in that final but it just shows you; if you don’t take your chances, it can cost you.

“We don’t want to end a great season on a losing note.

“We want to go into pre-season on the back of another great result and that’s what we’ll be trying to do.”

Carroll’s opposite number on Saturday - Chris Johns - may be just starting out on his goalkeeping journey, but has been as equally impressive in between the sticks this season, and the Northern Ireland international has been suitably impressed.

“Chris has done really well, I’ve heard nothing but good reports about him,” he said.

“He’s got the build, the temperament and having been across the water at Southampton he knows what he has to do to get back across.

“But he’s been superb this season and I’ve no doubt he is a big reason why Coleraine finished third this season.”

And Carroll believes that concentration is key for any goalkeeper in the modern game.

“It’s all about concentrating for 95 minutes. I keep telling the players that.

“It is really important for keepers that we keep our concentration at all times.

“Our defenders have done so well this season and we’re all looking forward to Saturday and hopefully we can win the Cup and finish the season on a high.”