David Healy hopeful ahead of Irish Cup final against Glenavon
DAVID Healy will give his good pal and opposite number Gary Hamilton a warm embrace before taking his place in the dug-out at tomorrow's Irish Cup final between Linfield and Glenavon at Windsor Park.
But, for 90 minutes or however long it takes, their friendship will be put on hold.
The pair go back a long way and the Linfield manager has nothing but admiration for the job Hamilton has done since taking over the hot-seat at Mourneview Park from Marty Quinn almost five years ago.
Glenavon last won the Irish Cup two years ago when they beat Ballymena United 2-1 in the final at Windsor Park while the Blues last success in the competition was back in 2012 when they defeated Crusaders 4-1 at the same venue.
Four years is a long time without capturing one of the Irish League's major trophies as far as a club of Linfield's magnitude is concerned and their sole success in the intervening period came in 2014 when they lifted the less prestigious Co Antrim Shield.
Healy is determined to put one over Hamilton to bridge the gap tomorrow and ensure the barren spell doesn't continue into his second season as Linfield manager.
"I'd be very friendly with Gary, we grew up together and I played with him at Lisburn Youth from an early age so our friendship goes back a long time." said Healy.
"I know about the hard work he puts in to the job he inherited and, from when he first went in to where they are now, is a credit to him and the staff there.
"The success that they've had by reaching their second Irish Cup final in two years is a credit to the whole club and to their the supporters.
"I was at the 2014 final when they beat Ballymena and Gary's done a fantastic job; he's a good fellow but, come Saturday, friendship will go out the window.
"Hopefully I will get one over on him but he'll obviously be thinking the same thing; some of the staff have been there and some of the players have Irish cup medals and I hope we come away with another set."
In fact, just two members of the current Linfield squad, Jamie Mulgrew and Aaron Burns, played in the 2012 final but Andy Waterworth claimed a winners' medal the following year with Glentoran.
Waterworth scored two of the goals in the Glens' 3-1 win over Cliftonville but that was to be his last game for the east Belfast club before he moved to their cross-city rivals.
The 30-year-old striker believes that if the Blues can lift the trophy tomorrow it would act as a catalyst for more success next season.
"When Linfield set out their objectives every season, it's to win trophies and everyone who pulls on the jersey believes exactly the same." said the Blues captain.
"It would be a dream come true for me to lift the Irish Cup at Windsor park in front of our own supporters and it would mean everything to me.
"It would be a great platform for us going into next season as it would give us confidence and hunger to get more success but we fully respect Glenavon; they are a very attacking side and will provide formidable opposition."