Glentoran hero Waterworth almost missed cup final

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Glentoran striker Andrew Waterworth celebrates scoring two goals in the 3-1 win over Cliftonville in the Irish Cup final.

Irish Cup final hero Andrew Waterworth said he almost missed the big match against Cliftonville because of illness.

The former Hamilton front man scored twice in Glentoran 3-1 win at Windsor Park in what could turn out to be his last match for the club.

"I had a virus all week and I am just glad I could play," said Waterworth.

Eddie Patterson guided Glentoran to victory over his old club Cliftonville
Eddie Patterson guided Glentoran to an Irish Cup final victory over his old club Cliftonville

"I watched this match when I was young, so to play in it, score in it and win man of the match is brilliant."

Media speculation has linked Waterworth with a close-season move to Glentoran's big Belfast rivals Linfield, but the 25-goal striker said he still had to decide on his future.

"In January the club said they were struggling financially and I should maybe look elsewhere," said the Crossgar man.

"Now things seem to be secure enough, but I am going to sit down with my family and decide where to go next season.

"But for the next few days I am going to celebrate this.

"I remember last season we lost to Newington in the Irish Cup and we let the fans down that day.

It just goes to show, one season you are down, the next you are up."

Glentoran boss Eddie Patterson revealed harsh words had been said in the dressing room with his side trailing 1-0.

"We did not give a good account of ourselves in the first half," said Patterson.

"We told the boys it would be a shame if they let the game pass them by after all the work they had put in during the season and after all they had been through - not getting paid and stuff like that.

"They really rolled their sleeves up and what a performance in the second half and in extra-time."

Cliftonville boss Tommy Breslin admitted tiredness might have told on his team at the end of a season which saw them win the Premiership and the League Cup.

"It could have been one game to far for us," he said.

"The crisp passing and the sharpness just were not there today.

"That is the way it goes - Glentoran were worthy winners."