McAllister’s goal to repay support with silverware

Mark McAllister's afternoon finished in frustration on Saturday.
Mark McAllister's afternoon finished in frustration on Saturday.
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Mark McAllister wants to repay the Portadown fans for such fantastic final support by bringing silverware back to Shamrock Park.

The summer signing ended his first campaign in hometown colours with cup heartbreak to Glentoran last weekend off the back of a league push that limped to a fourth-place finish.

However, the Ports striker admits the superb support at The Oval will offer extra incentive for rejuvenated efforts.

“I cannot wait to get into pre-season training and we all want to repay the fans for so much excellent support,” said McAllister. “Now I am at my hometown club and living in Lurgan, I see more fans than when with Linfield.

“They have all been so supportive and turned out in great numbers on Saturday despite the awful weather.

“The atmosphere was brilliant and my personal view would be to look at The Oval for future finals based on how everyone is much closer to the pitch.

“To win the cup with Portadown would have meant more to me than when at Linfield and, going in, we felt we had enough to get it done.

“However, we didn’t perform on the day and, personally and collectively, should have done better.

“My hamstring was a bit tight last weekend but I had to come off more due to match fitness after missing games leading up to the final.”

McAllister’s focus has now turned to forthcoming challenges.

“I have really enjoyed my first season, especially up to Christmas when free of injury problems,” he said. “It was disappointing the way everything developed for us after Christmas.

“We want to get back to our bread-and-butter of the league next season but I also do not think that Saturday marked the last cup final for this group of players.”

The official attendance of 8.072 featured almost 3,000 Portadown fans - including those celebrating a previous day’s wedding, some using it as part of stag plans and one who returned from his honeymoon to cheer on the players.

Over 40 busloads headed to Belfast from Portadown and surrounding areas.

One negative arrived towards the end when a group attempted to break past security through an access gate and on to the pitch, with an investigation expected into the incident.