Final misery plays key role in Ports’ cup motivation

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

Portadown manager Ronnie McFall has confirmed the misery of last season’s Irish Cup final will provide primary motivation when the latest campaign kicks off tomorrow (Saturday).

The Ports will welcome struggling NIFL Championship Two-based Wakehurst to Shamrock Park this weekend for the fifth-round clash.

Wakehurst’s preparations have been disrupted by the decision this week of Paul Muir to step down as manager - with former Ports favourite Neil Candlish also part of the departing backroom team.

Those within the Portadown camp are all-too-familiar with issues connected to the Irish Cup following last season’s controversial final defeat to Glentoran.

A 1-0 win for the Glens was surrounded in controversy due to disputes over the Oval as a venue and decisions by the match officials.

“We certainly felt hard done by last year in terms of the whole scenario,” said Ports boss Ronnie McFall. “In terms of where the final was played at Glentoran’s own ground and the match incidents but now we must use everything to push on.

“Certainly our priority is to win the Irish Cup.

“However, we must show Wakehurst total respect and will not take the tie lightly.

“We must prepare for the game in the right way and go in with full focus.”

Injuries and suspensions have left Portadown’s squad stretched, with news of Darren Murray’s transfer request this week adding to the pre-match build-up.

Saturday’s game will mark the first fixture in what is anticipated as McFall’s final Irish Cup campaign, with the long-serving manager expected to leave the club this summer.

Kick-off at Shamrock Park will be 3 o’clock.