IRISH CUP FINAL: Last year’s hurt has made us stronger says Brad Lyons

Brad Lyons says the pain of losing last year’s Irish Cup final has been the perfect inspiration for them this season.

The Bannsiders fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Linfield in last season’s final.

Coleraine's Brad Lyons. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

Coleraine's Brad Lyons. Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker Press

But Lyons and his Coelraine team-mates are determined to make amends this time around.

He said: “The hurt is still there from last season. We just didn’t turn up on the day.

“But we have used that to drive us on through all the rounds. We will motivate ourselves again come Saturday and be determined to come out victorious this time around.

“Personally, it was tough last season as I was fighting against injury and fighting against time to be fully fit for the game.

“But the last thing I would do is use that as an excuse. I was fully fit to be in the squad and start the game.

“The hurt from that final has driven me on personally. I have worked harder than ever before. Yes I’ve had my injuries this season but I’ve come through it.

“I’m be training hard this week and focusing on Saturday’s game.”

The Bannsiders suffered a setback on Saturday past when they were pipped to the League title by Crusaders.

Lyons though praised the manager for the progress the club has made in a short space of time.

“You have to congratulate Oran for the great squad he has built here,” he said.

“The players are thriving under him and drive on and listen to every word he says.

“The coaching staff he has brought in too have been brilliant.

“We have a great squad here now and that is the difference. We have done really well so far, but it will only be remembered as a great season if we go on and win something.

“It’s gutting to miss out on the last day but we have to take the positives from the entire season.

“We have been brilliant all year. We have only lost one game. I don’t know how many clean sheets we’ve had in total, but our defence has been immense.”

And the midfielder had a special word on the club’s fans, who have come out in force this season.

He said: “When you’re walking out or when you’re playing during the game and you hear the fans chanting your name it’s an incredible feeling.

“The support we had at Glenavon on Saturday was the best I’ve played under.

“The support we took up to Seaview on Easter Tuesday was incredible as well.

“The fans have driven us on all season, and for me that’s one of the reasons why we have been so good this term.

“When we’ve been going through tough parts in games they have inspired us to kick on again. Fair play to them. Hopefully we can repay them with a trophy!”