Gary Hamilton airs caution to Cup holders Glenavon

Celebration as Glenavon win the Marie Curie Irish Cup.
Celebration as Glenavon win the Marie Curie Irish Cup.

Gary Hamilton believes retaining the Irish Cup will be a “massive challenge” for Glenavon this season.

The Lurgan Blues kick-off the defence of their crown tomorrow when they make the trip to Mill Meadow.

A tricky fifth round tie with Championship 2 outfit Moyola Park lurks in wait for Hamilton’s side.

It will be the first step in what many Glenavon fans hope will be another mesmerising cup run.

Last May the Lurgan club claimed the Irish Cup for the first time in 17 years when they defeated Ballymena United 2-1 at Windsor Park.

It was a memorable moment for player/manager Hamilton and his squad – one that has etched their names in the proud history of the Mourneview Park club.

But what chance of a repeat in 2015?

According to Hamilton, it will be a monumental achievement if Glenavon retain the cup.

“You need a good slice of luck to win any cup, and the Irish Cup is no different,” Hamilton said.

“The cups are important. They present the best chance for us to win some silverware, and last season we were fortunate enough to lift the Irish Cup.

“It was a great and proud day for the club and something we will always remember. We would love to do it again, but it is going to be very difficult.

“Winning the Irish Cup once is an achievement, but retaining it is a different proposition.”

Hamilton admits tomorrow’s tie with Moyola Park – who sit fourth in Championship 2 – could come down to the old cliché of whoever performs on the day.

“Cups are like that. It can boil down to whoever turns up and plays their game,” he added.

“If you lose a league match, you can bounce back in the next game. If you fail to perform in a cup game and lose, that’s you out of it completely.

“So we are aware of the pitfalls that lie in wait in these games, and we have to make sure that we are mentally switched on and totally professional.

“If we don’t do that then an upset could happen. But if we do then I am confident the quality in my side will come out on top.”

Hamilton admits all the pressure will be on his Premiership side tomorrow.

“We are the Irish Cup holders, so in some respects we are a scalp for teams in the competition,” he added.

“We are certainly not favourites for the trophy this season. There are a few other teams in the draw ahead of us, teams like Linfield, Crusaders, Portadown and Cliftonville.

“But we will be favourites to win on Saturday.

“All the pressure is on us, and Moyola Park have nothing to lose. That makes them very dangerous opponents.

“They also play on an artificial surface so that is something we have to be ready for too.

“I would take a 1-0 win now if you offered it to me. The main thing is that you end up in the hat for the next round.

“We want to put in a good performance, but the result is all that counts on the day.”