Garry Breen is one win away from a perfect Irish Cup record this season but must overcome past pain next month to get his hands on silverware.
The popular centre-back’s animated celebration at the final whistle on Saturday offered an insight into the joy felt by Breen at such a major victory.
An appearance at Windsor Park on May 2 against Glentoran will present Breen a third opportunity at cup joy following misery in two previous career finals.
Breen accepts this season has also featured a number of disappointments.
“It is not something I want to talk about too much now but obviously conceding six goals against Crusaders was a low point for me and everyone at the club,” said Breen. “We have had to come through tough times but those setbacks help you develop and now we want to continue this momentum into the final.
“I lost a final as a teenager at Manchester City then the Co-operative Insurance Cup showdown with Lisburn Distillery in my first season with Portadown.
It was a tough second half but we stuck to the gameplanGarry Breen
“Hopefully, this will be a case of third time lucky and we all know this, on paper, is one of the best squads in the Irish League.
“You could see at the end of the match how much we enjoyed that win on Saturday and I am still buzzing.
“I wish the final was this weekend.”
Breen, for the second successive Irish Cup tie, had the perfect viewpoint to enjoy Portadown’s blistering start - with three goals against Ballymena United inside 27 minutes sending the fans into dreamland.
“You could hear the supporters during the game and it was great to see the numbers turn out,” said Breen. “I am sure that will be the case for the final.
“We wanted to repeat the good start from the quarter-final with Linfield and put Ballymena on the backfoot.
“It was the perfect start but we all expected Ballymena to throw everything at us in the second half.
“Then it came down to working together to protect our lead and everyone did an excellent job.
“Sean Mackle came in at right-back as a late replacement for Chris Ramsey but played as if he had been in the defence all season.
“As a centre-back, I can learn so much from having Keith O’Hara beside me.
“Basically, I am his legs and he is my mind, with Keith constantly talking to us during the game.
“It was a tough second half but we stuck to the gameplan.
“Hopefully, I can turn my luck around in this final.”