Gault’s rally cry as Ports prepare for cup final at The Oval

Michael Gault (centre) celebrates at The Oval with Peter McMahon and Mark McAllister following Portadown's Irish Cup semi-final win. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Michael Gault (centre) celebrates at The Oval with Peter McMahon and Mark McAllister following Portadown's Irish Cup semi-final win. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
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Portadown midfielder Michael Gault has dismissed the view that Glentoran will gain an unfair advantage from next month’s Irish Cup final at The Oval.

The Irish Football Association confirmed today (Friday) that the May 2 showpiece will take place at Glentoran’s The Oval - with kick-off at 2.30 - “due to the ongoing evaluation of the West Stand at Windsor Park”.

Alternative venues put forward included Ballymena Showgrounds and Ulster Rugby’s Kingspan but Gault is relishing the prospect of winning the Irish Cup at The Oval.

“I had a good record at The Oval as a Linfield player and, of course, we won the semi-final against Ballymena United at the same ground,” said Gault, scorer of the second goal in the 3-1 semi-final defeat of Ballymena. “The fans really got behind us that day and created a superb atmosphere so I am sure it will be the same at the final.

“The supporters did a great job of promoting the semi-final and getting extra fans down to The Oval.

“Of course, it will be even bigger for the final and I do not see it as an advantage to Glentoran.

“If anything, some might view it as putting the extra pressure on Glentoran and we should have enough experience in the squad to treat it like any other game irrespective of the venue.

“As a player, you should never let anything like that upset your preparations anyway and, ultimately, it is 11 v 11 on a football pitch.

“There will be equal tickets released to both clubs and I consider The Oval the most appropriate venue outside of Windsor Park.

“We also have the home dressing room, which was the case for the semi-final, so that is also going to make it a bit strange for Glentoran I am sure going into the smaller away room.

“We must view our semi-final win as a good omen, call on the supporters to get behind us in numbers and, hopefully, lift the cup at the final whistle.”