Portadown chief Ronnie McFall fondly recalls Glens’ 1983 Irish Cup triumph

Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Ronnie McFall. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Ronnie McFall fondly recalls the last time Glentoran won the Irish Cup at The Oval.

It was 32 years ago when the Glens earned victory over derby rivals Linfield at the east Belfast venue to lift the prestigious trophy.

Johnny Jameson was the hero, scoring twice to seal a 2-1 replay win after the sides had fought out a 1-1 draw at Windsor Park.

In the dugout that day for Glentoran was a manager by the name of Ronnie McFall.

Appointed as player/manager in 1979, McFall guided the Glens to the league title in 1981 and the Irish Cup in 1983, along with one Gold Cup and three Ulster Cups.

The successful partnership would end in 1984 when McFall was sacked by the east Belfast giants following a Boxing Day victory over Lisburn Distillery.

Fast forward three decades and the 69-year-old is preparing to lock horns with his former club in the 2015 Marie Curie Irish Cup final.

And as he sets his sights on what would be a 30th trophy in a glittering managerial career, McFall insists he harbours no ill-feeling towards his old employers.

“That’s all in the past now. It was over 30 years ago,” he said.

“There is nothing personal between Glentoran and myself going into Saturday’s game.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and I made a lot of friends at The Oval. And I still have many friends at the club.

“I remember the cup final of 1983. The first game ended in a draw at Windsor, and then we had the replay at The Oval and won 2-1.

“We had signed Johnny Jameson from Linfield in 1980 and he got the two goals on the day, and we also had Jim Cleary sent off.

“It was the first time in 10 years that Glentoran had won the Irish Cup, so it was a special occasion.

“People also remember the final for the strutting cockerel during the game.

“But like any trophy I have won, it is all in the past now. My only focus is on Saturday and Portadown winning the Irish Cup.”

A lot of the pre-match focus ahead of Saturday’s showpiece has been on the decision to play the game at Glentoran’s Oval home.

McFall believes the choice of venue has gifted the Glens a “massive advantage” for the clash.

“In any cup game, all you want is home advantage. Well, Glentoran have been handed that to them,” McFall said.

“It is a massive advantage for them. They will be playing at home and will have a big crowd behind them.

“Will that crank up the pressure on them? I would say so. They are the ones playing at home so they will be expected to win. We just have to get on with it.

“My players are determined to win the cup. They are a dedicated bunch of lads. We won’t be dwelling on the venue for too long.

“We certainly have no fears going to The Oval. We will go out and try and play the way we can and hopefully we get the result on the day.”

McFall has reported no injury concerns ahead of Saturday’s Irish Cup final.