Wright thinking back to senior glory days in bid for fans boost

Portadown thirds before the Harry Cavan Youth Challenge Cup semi-final win over Institute Colts. Back row, from left, are Mark Whitten, Shea Conaty, Regan McIlveen, Martin Marron, Jordan Lyttle, Scott Rae. Front row, from left, are John Gibson, Jacob Taylor, Shayne Lavery, Henry Warren, Jake Keegan. Pic by Irish Football Association.
Portadown thirds before the Harry Cavan Youth Challenge Cup semi-final win over Institute Colts. Back row, from left, are Mark Whitten, Shea Conaty, Regan McIlveen, Martin Marron, Jordan Lyttle, Scott Rae. Front row, from left, are John Gibson, Jacob Taylor, Shayne Lavery, Henry Warren, Jake Keegan. Pic by Irish Football Association.

Chris Wright is calling on the Portadown fanbase to recapture the spirit of 2009 when his thirds face Crusaders next week in the Harry Cavan Youth Challenge Cup final.

Gary McCutcheon’s goal secured success for Portadown in the 2009 Co-operative Insurance Cup final over top-flight Newry City during the club’s season in second-tier football.

Supporters responded in large numbers to the decision to stage the showpiece at Lurgan’s Mourneview Park and the atmosphere generated attracted widespread praise within the game.

Portadown will return to Glenavon’s ground on Friday, April 11 in pursuit of glory and the Harry Cavan Youth Challenge Cup may naturally rank below senior silverware in status but retains the accolade of premier prize across the Irish League’s grassroots scene.

The teenagers’ passing game served up plenty of entertainment in the semi-final at Castledawson last week and Wright is hoping greater numbers will back the thirds in Lurgan for his squad’s biggest game to date and, statistically, what may prove the only opportunity some will have to win a major trophy.

“I was at Mourneview Park that day in 2009 as a supporter and the crowd really turned out to make it a special day,” said Wright. “That fact that our final will be so close to home next week will hopefully persuade fans to make the short journey and support the next generation of players.

“It will be a tough test as Crusaders sit in the senior division of the NIFL Youth League.

“However, we knocked out a top-flight side last weekend in the Youth League Cup to reach the quarter-finals and confidence is really high around the squad thanks to such a dramatic semi-final win in the Harry Cavan after extra-time.

“Any support would be a massive boost for the players.”

Kick-off in Lurgan will be 7.30, with admission £4 and £2 concession.