IRISH CUP: Home tie for holders Glenavon to kick off defence

Gary Hamilton
Gary Hamilton

Irish Cup holders Glenavon can use both past glory days and future rewards to aid focus for this weekend.

Portstewart arrive at Mourneview Park aiming to put the Northern Ireland Intermediate League outfit on the map with a cup shock.

The difference in divisions offers evidence that Saturday’s match presents the cliché of cup final status for Portstewart.

In contrast, Glenavon will be aiming to reach the real showpiece in May for a third time across four seasons.

Those previous triumphs serve as motivation to avoid a fall at the first hurdle - plus an opportunity for Glenavon’s ageing squad to add another medal to the individual roll of honour.

“We will treat Portstewart with complete respect and know from past pain just what can happen in these kinds of ties when you underestimate any opposition,” said Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton. “But we must have faith in our ability and trust the difference in levels will have an impact, as long as we do the basics right and match Portstewart for work-rate.

“Although this is the first match of our Irish Cup season, it is only natural that players gain an extra lift from thinking back to previous wins.

“Quite a few of the players in this current squad were involved in the previous two Irish Cup wins and everyone knows that final day is the biggest in the football calendar.

“The chance to taste that level of success again obviously acts as motivation but there is also the potential reward of fresh contracts.”