Ronnie McFall banking on Ports’ ‘quality and experience’ in final

Portadown captain Keith O'Hara will be an influential player at The Oval
Portadown captain Keith O'Hara will be an influential player at The Oval

Ronnie McFall is banking on Portadown’s “quality and experience” seeing them through in Saturday’s Marie Curie Irish Cup final.

It has been 10 years since the Ports last claimed the blue riband trophy.

It came on May 7, 2005 when the Shamrock Park Reds overpowered Larne at Windsor Park.

Trailing to Neil Ogden’s early opener, Portadown scored five unanswered goals to claim the end-of-season showpiece.

There was plenty of ‘quality and experience’ on show for the Ports that afternoon, with Vinny Arkins scoring a brace, and John Convery, Marc McCann and Darren Kelly adding to the tally.

The club did return to the showpiece five years later, but lost out to Linfield.

But another five years on and McFall is seeking what would be a fourth Irish Cup win with the Ports.

“I have great belief in this side. There is experience and youth, and players who have been there and done it,” he said.

“It is hard to believe it is 10 years since we last won the cup. But we have the chance to change that record on Saturday and that’s what we aim to do.”

The Ports appear well-equipped to tackle the challenge of Glentoran.

Last summer’s acquisition of Linfield trio Michael Gault, Mark McAllister and Robert Garrett was hailed as a masterstroke from the shrewd McFall.

The arrivals were the latest building blocks in what the manager hoped would be a title-winning squad.

But while they came up short in their quest for the Gibson Cup, Portadown are hoping to finish the season on a high.

“We have a lot of quality in the team, and experience. That is a good mix,” McFall added.

“We have winners in the side too. Players who have won leagues and Irish Cups and countless other trophies.

“They will know what Saturday is all about, and they will know what to expect.

“So I have no doubts that they will be ready come 2.30pm on Saturday.”

McFall has won 23 trophies with Portadown since his arrival in 1986.

He has claimed 29 honours in total during a distinguished managerial career that included a five-year spell with Glentoran.

A 30th career trophy potentially lies in wait on Mersey Street today, but McFall is refusing to dwell on past glories.

“Everything that has gone before is in the past. I can only look forward,” he added.

“Yes, it has been an enjoyable career and success has come along the way. But I want to win the next trophy and Saturday offers the chance to do that.”