IRISH CUP SEMI-FINAL: Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton hails four goal hero Kevin Braniff

Glenavon's match winner Kevin Braniff celebrates with team mates at the final whistle
Glenavon's match winner Kevin Braniff celebrates with team mates at the final whistle

Gary Hamilton described Kevin Braniff as “untouchable” after the striker bagged an incredible FOUR goals to book Glenavon’s place in the final of the Tennent’s Irish Cup.

Braniff scored twice in either half as the Lurgan Blues came from behind three times to see off Crusaders 4-3 at Windsor Park.

It was an majestic performance from the 33-year-old who cancelled out strikes from Matthew Snoddy (2) and Paul Heatley before delivering the final blow in the 71st minute to seal a sensational win.

“When Kevin is on form like that he is untouchable,” Glenavon boss Hamilton said.

“We all know he can score goals like that and tonight he was on fire. He deserves to get 10 out of 10 for tonight’s performance. He was superb.”

Braniff played down the significance of his four-goal salvo, preferring to hail Glenavon’s character following their spirited win against the Premiership champions.

“It is a special night. I think that is the first time I have scored four goals in a game,” Braniff said.

“For the team to come from behind three times and progress to an Irish Cup final is special. We started slowly but we kept fighting and we managed to respond when we went behind.

“This team never says die and we keep fighting to the end, and tonight it has paid off for us.

“Now we can look forward to next month’s final against either Linfield or Lurgan Celtic.”

Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter was left to reflect on the club’s fourth successive Irish Cup semi-final defeat.

“We were ahead three times, but crucial errors allowed Glenavon back into the game,” he said.

“It was a great game of football between two attacking sides. And credit to Kevin Braniff, that was a master class in finishing tonight.”