Big Ronnie Plans to Bring More Silverware to Portadown; HUNTING HISTORY CO-OPERATIVE INSURANCE FINAL

Article excerpt

Byline: BY DARREN FULLERTON

NOT even an MBE for services to football has eased Ronnie McFall's quest to further imprint his name in Portadown folklore.

A gong from the Queen might herald a slowing of desire for most individuals - a royal full stop nearing the end of the tale.

Not McFall, though. He has many more chapters to write.

Yes, he enjoyed his investiture at Buckingham Palace at the height of summer-it was a "privilege, a real honour".

But the Ports manager's thirst for silverware, medals and recognition of a football ilk is unabated.

The Irish League's longest serving boss is determined to add to his impressive CV - a haul that includes four titles and three Irish Cups at Shamrock Park - by lifting the Co-Operative Insurance Cup this afternoon.

"I am looking forward to it immensely," said McFall. "Can we win it? It will be tough, but I have every confidence in my players.

"I have every confidence we can lift this trophy."

McFall's belief levels aren't misplaced - not when you consider their route to today's showpiece final.

It has been circuitous, given the mid-Ulster club's status as a Championship team this season.

Their demotion to the second tier of local football because of an administrative gaffe is well documented.

In short, it meant they had to demolish Ballymoney United (7-2 over two legs) and Larne (7-1 on aggregate) in earlier rounds before showing their true worth be dispensing with Cliftonville, holders Linfield and Glentoran.

The Blues were beaten 3-0 over two legs, while Glentoran were defeated 2-1 after extra time in the semis last month.

"We've reached this final the hard way," said McFall. "It was a colossal fixture schedule but we beat them all.

"It hasn't been an easy ride, but I was always confident we could go all the way. …