Playing in an Irish Cup final is special, but playing in an Irish Cup final for your hometown team is on an entirely different level.
Lyndon Kane is set to realise that dream when he walks out at Windsor Park to take on Linfield this Saturday.
It’s a dream he has held close to his heart since watchin ghis heroes bring the trophy back to the town some 14 years ago.
“It’s a dream come true for me to be playing in an Irish Cup final, but the bigger dream is to go on and win it,” he told Times Sport.
“I want to be able to say I was one of the players who was able to bring the Irish Cup back to the town like Paul Gaston and Stewartie Clanachan did in 2003.
“They were local lads who won the Irish Cup with the club and I want that too.
“I was only six in 2003, I didn’t get to the game, but I went the following year when they lost to Glentoran.
“I watched it at home with my granda in 2003, but there’s pictures of me down the town during the open top bus parade, I had my face painted!
“It brings back so many great memories, but I want to be able to create those memories now myself.
“I want to be able to inspire the next generation the way Gacky, Jody Tolan, Tony Gorman and all inspired me.
“To be honest it hasn’t really sunk in yet, I think it will when we walk out on the pitch.
“It means so much to everyone, and it will be great to have so many family members and friends there.
“I want to be able to look back on my career when I finish, which hopefully won’t be for a while yet, and say I won the Irish Cup for my home town club.
“I think we are building something very special here and if we all stay together we can achieve so much.
“There’s no reason why we can’t become one of the top three or four clubs over the next few years.”
Being a Coleraine boy and living close to The Showgrounds Kane knows how important it is for the Bannsiders to be successful.
Anticipation among the fans has been bubbling up since Boxing Day when they set off on a 17-game unbeaten run and reached the final of the Irish Cup along the way.
With over 4,500 fans expected to make the journey up the M2 and the town bedecked in blue and white it’s safe to say they have caught ‘Final Fever’!
“You can see what getting to an Irish Cup final means to the town as a whole,” said Lyndon.
“The flags and window designs by the local shops is fantastic to see.
“Everyone is talking about it. No matter where you go or who you bump into they just want to talk about the cup final.
“We have tried to keep a lid on it since the semi final as we still had a job to do and make sure we finished third to qualify for Europe. But it was hard not to because the buzz was just so real.”
The showdown at Windsor is not the only big match in the Kane family this Saturday.
Lyndon’s aunt Gillian also has a pressing engagement as she marries local man John McGrath. Unfortunately Lyndon won’t make the ceremony as he will be on his way to Belfast, but he is hoping to make it a double celebration later that day!
“My auntie is getting married on the same day,” he said.
“Obviously I won’t be able to go as we will be leaving so early, but my dad, mum and sister will be going to the service and then heading up the road to the match.
“It’s unfortunate the way it has panned out but it’s one of those things. If we come back with the trophy then it will be double celebration that night.
“I just hope it is fate that my aunt has a great wedding day and we win the cup.”
Gillian is thrilled her nephew has such a big engagement of his own and hopes to be able to keep up to date with the proceedings at Windsor during the reception.
“I know it is my wedding day but I couldn’t have wished any better for Lyndon to be playing in such a big game,” she said.
“I’m pleased for him and that’s what family is all about, hoping that those belonging to you do well.”
Lyndon’s dad Mark, Gillian’s brother, is in for a busy day as he and his wife and daughter are planning to make both special events this Saturday.
“The wedding was planned 18 months ago and nobody would have thought that it would clash with the Irish Cup final and one that Lyndon would be involved in,” he said.
“Gillian is getting married at 12pm in Coleraine, so my wife Shauna and our daughter Carrie-Lyn will go to the service and, when it’s over, we will make our way from Coleraine to Windsor Park for the kick-off at 2.30pm.
“Hopefully Coleraine will lift the trophy and then we will make our way back to Coleraine for Gillian’s reception.”