Davy Rainey knows a thing or two about winning the Irish Cup!
The veteran striker has three winners’ medals neatly tucked in his locker – the latest from last season’s success with Glenavon, even though he remained on the bench for the 90 minutes.
In an ironic twist, Rainey will go head-to-head his former employers on Saturday when Gary Hamilton brings his Premiership side to Tillysburn to face Harland and Wolff Welders.
The 36-year-old goes into the game on a high after being named BT Sport Championship One Player of the Month for January, nominated by the NI Football Writers’ Association.
“I’m thrilled with the award,” beamed Rainey, who hit five goals for Welders over the past month, which included a hat-trick against Donegal Celtic. “It’s been a good move for me – the club has been going really well.”
Rainey is now plotting the downfall of the Lurgan Blues, but admits it’s a tall order.
“We’re confident we can give a good account of ourselves,” he added. “We’ve plenty of experience in the side – and we have a bit of youth as well.
“Glenavon are a top Premiership club that is doing very well this season. Gary (Hamilton) has done a fantastic job at the club. They have two strikers bang on form. In my opinion, Kevin Braniff has been one of the best players in the league for some time. He’s scoring goals regularly now. Eoin Bradley has also been a great signing for them – and he also knows where the net is.
“But they have strength throughout the team. They have a great engine room in Shane McCabe and big Ciaran Martyn, and they are defensively strong. It will be hard to break them down, but we’ll go out and give it our best shot.”
Rainey believes fairy tales do happen, especially when he reflects on previous cup experiences.
“It’s been a good tournament for me – I’ve played in five finals and have three winners’ medals,” he boasts.
“I was in the Glenavon squad for last season’s final. I was obviously disappointed I didn’t get on. I suppose I was fortunate to be in the squad because there were quite a few boys sitting in the stand watching it.
“It’s always a big day when one of the lower clubs pulls a Premiership side in the cup. Hopefully, we’ll get a good crowd at Tillysburn to help create a good atmosphere.”
Rainey stressed that taking the scalp of Glenavon would help erase the memory of his team’s Steel and Sons final defeat by Carrick Rangers on Christmas Day.
“It hurts to lose any cup final. We just didn’t turn up for that game,” he adds. “It may sound silly, but it’s easier to get over a hammering than it is to get over a close result.”