IRISH CUP: Kris Lindsay intends to soak up the big-match atmosphere

Glenavon skipper Kris Lindsay
Glenavon skipper Kris Lindsay

Glenavon skipper Kris Lindsay intends to savour every minute of his team’s Tennent’s Irish Cup final appearance against Linfield at Windsor Park on Saturday.

The 34-year-old insists one of his proudest moments was back in 2014 when he marched onto the podium to hoist the famous trophy following the Lurgan Blues’ win over Ballymena United.

Gary Hamilton’s team have grown in stature since that landmark occasion. They will have their passports prepared for the third successive year in European football in July.

The experience of Eoin Bradley, Kevin Braniff, Cairan Martyn, manager Gary Hamilton and Lindsay, coupled with the exuberance of young guns Mark Sykes, Rhys Marshall, Joel Cooper and James Singleton, who has been out injury for much of the season, have made the Lurgan Blues into a force to be reckoned with.

Lindsay now wants to top off what has been another successful season with and Irish Cup win.

“Every cup final is special – and I’m not getting any younger,” he said.

“You never know when the last one is going to be, so you have to go out and make the most of it and enjoy it.

“To be honest, you only enjoy it if you win it, though. The Irish Cup final is the best day of the season and anyone who has ever played in one will tell you that.

“It’s the day every player looks forward too. The league is great but the Irish Cup final is special and it’s the one we all want to play in.

“The older you get, the more you’re able to enjoy it. The last time we were in the final, we met up at Mourneview at about 10am and there were probably 300 or 400 fans there at that stage.

“If you can’t enjoy that, you shouldn’t be playing the game. As we get closer to the game, you have your pre-match and that’s when it starts to kick in that there is a game to play and you have to focus – you have to get the serious head on."

The Glenavon squad has changed dramatically over the past two years.

Lindsay adds: “The squad in 2014 was great and – we had a lot of experience with big Winkie (William Murphy), Davy Rainey and Gareth McKeown.

“That cup win enabled Gary and the club to go and add more quality to the squad like Kevin Braniff and Daniel Kearns, who are match-winners and totally unplayable on their day."