IRISH CUP FINAL: Cliftonville’s Harry Fay hoping Reds get the job done after his own Cup woes

Clifton ville assistant boss Harry Fay
Clifton ville assistant boss Harry Fay

Cliftonville’s last success in the Irish Cup will live long in the memory for the Reds current assistant manager Harry Fay.

Fay was left disappointed as his hometown club, Portadown, were beaten by a last minute winner from the Solitude side.

To make matters worse the winner came from another Portadown man, Tony Bell!

Fay will be feeling very different about a Cliftonville victory this time around.

“When we got the job after the first press conference Cliftonville supporters told us win the Cup and you will be legends,” he said.

“The Cup is a big thing for the supporters. 1979 is a long time and I can remember it as a fella from my town Tony Bell won the Cup for them.

“I’m from Portadown and supported the club then so it was gut wrenching for me to see them lose it but once you are welcomed into the Cliftonville family you feel you have been there a long time. It’s a proper football club and things are done right and you have a lot of support.

“The fans see this trophy as the Holy Grail and let’s hope we can deliver it for them.”

Fay has his own Irish Cup woes after losing the 2007 final on penalties to Linfield.

And he has been passing on his own experiences to his current crop of players.

“The Cup final is a massive day and it can be over very quickly,” said Fay.

“You must treat it as a normal game and play it like that. That’s the angle we are coming at. It’s a massive game but you keep it as normal as possible.

“I spoke to a few players about my experiences. It’s a wrench not to win it.

“When I was there, 10 or 11 years ago you didn’t have the media coverage you have today. “

“There is more razzamataz now and it’s more difficult for players but you must put that to one side. The suits and everything else count for nothing unless you win the Cup.

“It came down to a penalty kick when we were there but you have to win the trophy.”

A lot has been made of the Reds prolific striking options, but they aren’t too shabby at the back either.

With 13 clean sheets to their name they have proven to be a tough nut to crack of late.

“We have tightened things up,” said Fay.

“At the start of the season we were conceding goals but we have been more consistent and rigid at the back.

“Jamie Harney did struggle for fitness and big Gary Breen was out for a while but when we have them playing and fit they are a formidable partnership.”