|Glentoran Match Preview|
|Uploaded Thursday, 30th Jul, 2020 at 12:12|
|BALLYMENA United travel to Belfast again on Friday evening to face Glentoran in the final of the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup.|
|The last time the sides met was on 28th December 2019 in the Danske Bank Premiership, when Glentoran ran out 2-0 winners at The Oval with late goals from Robbie McDaid and Navid Nasseri.|
|Latest results v Glentoran (all league unless stated):|
Glentoran 2-0 Ballymena United, The Oval, 28th December 2019. Att: 1893
Glentoran 3-1 Ballymena United, The Oval, 25th October 2019. Att: 1787
Ballymena United 1-2 Glentoran, Ballymena Showgrounds, 24th August 2019. Att: 1727
Ballymena United 0-2 Glentoran, Ballymena Showgrounds, 16th March 2019. Att: 1594
Ballymena United 2-1 Glentoran, Ballymena Showgrounds, 20th November 2018. Att: 1205
Glentoran 0-1 Ballymena United, The Oval, 10th November 2018. Att: 1354
|Road to the final - Glentoran|
In the opening round for senior sides, Glentoran drew 2-2 with Portadown after extra-time, the goals coming from Hrvoje Plum in normal time and Johnny Frazer in extra-time. The crucial penalty to take the Glens in to the sixth round was scored by Gavin Peers.
Glentoran travelled across Belfast to Queen's University Playing Fields to face the side who had previously dispatched of Linfield but, despite an excellent game from the students, ran out 3-2 winners with a Robbie McDaid hat-trick.
Despite a strong start from the Glens, Crusaders managed to take the lead at The Oval in the quarter-final, a deflected shot stunning the home side and completely fooling Elliot Morris. It would be halfway through the second half before the equaliser came, Marcus Kane getting on the end of a Gavin Peers pass with his superbly struck shot going straight into the corner of the Crues' net. With just 2 minutes of normal time left to play, confusion engulfed the game when the officials couldn't decide whether Jarlath O'Rourke had used his hand to put the ball out of play from the box, the ref signalling for a corner before consultation with fourth official Raymond Crangle resulted in Andrew Davey changing his mind and awarding a penalty, enough for Robbie McDaid to grab the winner and book a place in the semi-finals.
After a lengthy absence from the game due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Glens were finally in action again, facing Cliftonville for a place in the final, just hours after Ballymena United have secured their berth. Again, the East Belfast side had to come from behind, an unfortunate Paddy McLean putting the ball into his own net after slipping in the Glentoran box to give the North Belfast side the lead. There wasn't too long to wait for another goal though, with Robbie McDaid levelling 20 minutes later and the game going to extra-time and penalties. Elliot Morris, having made some excellent stops during the game, saved from Conor McDermott in the penalty shoot-out, sending Glentoran to their 42nd Irish Cup Final.
|Road to the final - Ballymena United|
The Sky Blues made hard work of their fifth round tie at home to Crumlin Star, sub Declan Carville rising highest to meet a Ross Lavery corner and head home off the underside of the bar. Despite a string of corners from the Star, United held on and managed to seal the tie in the second minute of added time, Carville making a further impact in the game when he teed up Cathair Friel to fire the second goal home and secure passage to the next round.
It was a very late winner for Ballymena when they came back from behind to defeat Warrenpoint Town at Milltown Playing Fields. After a scoreless first half, the 'Town took the lead just 3 minutes into the second half, Brandon Doyle fortunate to get on the end of a deflected shot to curl past Ross Glendinning from the edge of the box. After that, it was all United. On the hour mark James Knowles delivered an excellent ball into the box and Kyle Owens heading home the equaliser, setting up a tense final half hour. With just 2 minutes left in normal time Leroy Millar, captain for the game, send an inch perfect ball from the centre circle to set Andrew McGrory clear to slot the ball past Mark Byrne in front of a delighted Sky Blue support.
It was another tough game for United in the quarter-final, when they travelled to Ferney Park to face Ballinamallard United. The Mallards started the game well, producing a series of chances and a fine save from Ross Glendinning, but after the first quarter hour the Sky Blues burst into life, Adam Lecky sending a great ball down the line for Friel to run onto and cross in to Josh Kelly whose first time effort looped over the keeper and into the top corner. From there on it was a fairly even affair, both sides having chances but failing to capitalise on them, but with just 15 minutes left on the clock, Adam Lecky being felled in the box resulting in referee Keith Kennedy pointing to the spot for Tony Kane to fire home and book a place in the semi-finals.
It was the first senior game in 142 days before this seasons Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup resumed, with United facing derby rivals Coleraine at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on Monday afternoon. Coleraine looked the more threatening side for much of the first half and, despite Ballymena coming into the game, they made the pressure pay in the 45th minute when Eoin Bradley fired an excellent free kick past a stranded Glendinning. With 7 minutes gone in the second half, manager David Jeffrey made 3 substitutions, and it made a huge difference to the game. 10 minutes after the second set of changes were made, Andrew McGrory sent a cross to the back post which was headed back across the goal by Aaron Burns and, after being turned goalwards by Leroy Millar, Kenneth Kane found himself in the perfect position to fire home and level the tie with second to go. Extra-time produced very little as both sides seemed to settle for penalties, and so it was to be. It wasn't looking good after Captain Jim Ervin missed the first spot kick but, with both Lowry and Bradley failed to score theirs, Steven McCullough stepped up to put all the pressure on Ben Doherty who had to score to keep Coleraine in the cup. To the relief of The Braidmen, he sent the ball fizzing over the bar towards row Z, United winning the penalty shoot-out 3-1 to make it to the final.
|Important information for all supporters attending the match:|
United supporters will be in the Staffline Stand (Railway End) for the Peaky Blinders Irish Cup Final. Supporters should enter via Donegall Avenue. Supporters may park on the surrounding streets, but please show your respect to local residents.
There will be no food, drinks or hospitality available.
Supporters are very, very strongly encouraged to wear face masks and must obey social distancing guidelines at all times. The seats are allocated seatings. You must sit in the seat that your ticket refers to. There can be no moving to sit with a friend or relative from another grouping.
We will also continue to take the field in our burgundy Cup kit.
|Information for supporters not attending the match:|
|Live coverage of the match will be shown on BBC Two NI, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport NI website and commentary will be available on BBC Radio Ulster.|
|Referee: Tim Marshall. Assistant 1: Stephen Bell. Assistant 2: Paul Robinson. 4th Official: Shane Andrews.|
You must scan your eTicket at one of the turnstiles to gain access to the stadium, and there will be stewards to direct you to your allocated section/seat.
Kick off is 8:00pm.
|The last time the Sky Blues lifted the Irish Cup was in 1989, when they beat Larne at The Oval with a 73rd minute Paul Hardy back-heel fooling Larne 'keeper Vince Magee to win their sixth Irish Cup. It was just 2015 when the Glens last lifted the Irish Cup, David Scullion grabbing the winner against Portadown in the 54th minute. Ballymena United were 31 points behind Glentoran when football in Northern Ireland was halted in March, showing what would appear to be a massive difference in class but, as we seen on Monday, class counts for nothing in big games, and the Sky Blues will fancy themselves to overcome the East Belfast side to end their long wait for an Irish Cup title. Wherever you are, be loud and proud in support of YOUR team - Come On Sky Blues!|
|Match Preview by Paul Irwin|
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