Curran and Gormley out to end long wait for Irish Cup win

Joe Gormley and Chris Curran
Curran and Gormley have won every domestic trophy on offer with Cliftonville, except for the Irish Cup [Press Eye]

Joe Gormley and Chris Curran are Cliftonville stalwarts who have both been at the club for over 10 years.

They have won almost everything there is to win during their time with the north Belfast side, apart from one trophy which has alluded them, and Cliftonville as a club, for a very long time.

Approaching the latter stages of their careers, the two are desperate to end their own wait for Irish Cup winners' medals and the club's wait for a first success in the competition since 1979.

"I'd love to win it," admits club captain Curran ahead of Saturday's final.

"Joe is probably saying the same thing, it is what everyone wants, and the supporters have waited an unbelievable amount of time to have us bring it back again.

"We’re doing everything possible to prepare well for the big day but regardless I have had an unbelievable time at the club.

"I’d be happy with my lot, but this would be a huge achievement."

Two previous final losses were 'gutting'

Joe Gormley
Gormley opened the scoring for Cliftonville in the 2013 final where they were beaten by Glentoran after extra-time. [Pacemaker Press]

Curran and Gormley were on the losing side in the 2018 Irish Cup final, when Cliftonville were beaten 3-1 by Coleraine.

Gormley put Cliftonville ahead in the 2013 showpiece, but they eventually fell to a 3-1 defeat after extra-time against Glentoran.

The prolific forward is now hoping it is third time lucky against Linfield, but he knows the task at hand is mighty.

The Blues won all four of the league meetings between the two sides this season.

However, Gormley is hopeful that the Reds can rise to the occasion and finally get over the line in this competition.

"It’s something I’m really looking forward to it," he said.

"The two [finals] that I’ve been beaten in have been a bit gutting but it’s in the past.

"It’s the only piece of silverware missing and it’s one I’m hoping I can add to my collection."

He continued: "It’s going to be a tough game - Linfield have great history in the Irish Cup, but it is a game we’re really up for and we’re going to leave everything on the pitch.

"We haven’t beaten Linfield this year and it’s something we need to put right."

'We are slight underdogs'

Chris Curran and Joe Gormely
Curran and Gormley featured in Cliftonville's 2018 Irish Cup final loss [Pacemaker Press]

Curran believes that Cliftonville are in a better place now than when they were last in the final six years ago.

He is also confident that the Reds can replicate their impressive performance against league champions Larne in the semi-final.

"We’re stronger now going into it, I'm not sure we had the type of experience in the squad in 2018 that we do now.

"We’re probably still underdogs slightly as we were in 2018, but I don’t think that will hamper us, we’re just focusing on our job," he explained.

"Linfield are an incredibly strong outfit, but we have belief that we can win in a one-off cup game.

"I think in the semi-final we were very disciplined, and we were waiting for those opportunities, and I think we have belief that we have players at the top end of that pitch that are clinical and can take those chances when they come along.

"We know the challenge we’re coming into, but we have confidence that we can get it over the line."

'I'm more interested in us winning the cup than starting'

Chris Curran
Club captain Curran has made the majority of his appearances for Cliftonville this season off the bench [Pacemaker Press]

Curran has been a bit-part player for the Reds but produced a strong substitute appearance against Larne in the semi-final victory.

Rory Hale and Ronan Doherty are nailed on starters for Jim Magilton, but since the departure of Chris Gallagher to Larne, the manager has used a number of players in that third midfield role.

Curran, Shea Gordon, Conor Pepper and Kris Lowe will all be vying for that position, but the captain is happy to play whatever role required as long as Cliftonville clinch silverware.

"I’d love to start but I’m more interested in us winning the cup, I hope I do, but if I don’t, I’m ready just to play my part there’s a bigger picture at play.

"We just want to play the game and not get carried away with the occasion."

The midfielder is excited for the away end to be drenched in red at Windsor Park, where a huge attendance is expected.

"It never ceases to amaze me when you come out of the tunnel at Windsor Park and you look at the away stand and it is a sea of red, it is special to see and hear it so I'm excited for that."

Ever the optimist, Gormley is ready for the party in north Belfast after the final if the Reds finally manage get over the line.

"I’ve put in my pass for three to four days leave if we win so I’m just waiting to get my permission slip signed!"

Something tells me he'll need a few weeks never mind days to celebrate if Cliftonville manage to end the 45-year wait for Irish Cup glory.