Josh Robinson targeting Irish Cup success
This time last year Josh Robinson was preparing to bring his Linfield career to a close and embark on a new chapter with Larne.
Fast forward 12 months and he is set to face his former employers in his first-ever Irish Cup final.
The big defender felt the move to Inver Park was a “step forward” and now he has the chance to complete a full set of Irish League medals with victory in tomorrow night’s final.
“When I joined Larne I looked at it as a step forward, not a step back and I love it here,” he said.
“I’m training full-time and the way the gaffer goes about things, all credit to them, we have a plan going into every game.
“We set our challenges out for the season and getting to the Irish Cup final is massive for a club like Larne. It’s massive compared to Linfield and Crusaders because they’re always up there.
“It’s a credit to Kenny Bruce and the whole club. You can see what they’re trying to do down there and it’s fantastic to be part of that.
“I won the league title and League Cup with Crusaders and Linfield. I won the Shield for the first time with Larne in December, so this would complete the set.
“It would mean a lot to do it on Friday night.”
Robinson knows it won’t be easy against his former employers, but they proved they can get a result against the Blues when he popped up with the winner at Windsor Park last week.
He said: “It’s a cup final and anything can happen. Just look at the semi-final. Sometimes these things are written in the stars.
“Someone has to put their name on the cup and we have the chance to do that on Friday night.
“The boys were brilliant against Crusaders to fight back from 1-0 down and we’ll show the same drive and determination against Linfield.
“We showed a similar mindset when we beat Linfield in the final few minutes at Windsor Park last week. We want to push on now and try and win the cup.”
Victory at Mourneview Park would secure Larne’s first-ever Irish Cup, and Robinson is hoping to give the fans plenty to cheer about.
“Larne have never won the Irish Cup, so it would be very special. I’m sure the fans were going crazy on Tuesday and I wish they were there to see us win the semi-final,” he said.
“But they have a final to look forward to now and it’ll be fantastic to see some of them inside Mourneview Park.”
The return of fans for Friday evening’s final will carry extra significance for Robinson.
Up to 1,000 fans will be there to watch the Inver Park side take on Linfield at Mourneview Park.
And Robinson is hoping his family will be there to cheer him on from the stands.
“It’s very special for me and my family,” he said.
“I always wanted to play in an Irish Cup final and now I have that opportunity.
“I’m delighted there will be supporters there on Friday night and hopefully my father Alan, wife Kristina and daughter Rosa will be there to watch me play.
“My wee daughter is only two so she hasn’t seen me play yet because of the pandemic, so hopefully she can be there.
“I’d love to have them there - it would mean a lot if they could be part of the occasion.”
Robinson played his part in the dramatic scenes at the end of their penalty shootout victory over Crusaders.
He watched on as Jonny Tuffey twice saved his spot kicks before the Crues stopper was dismissed for coming off his line.
Robinson eventually slotted home at the third time of asking as Billy Joe Burns took over between the sticks to reach his first ever Irish Cup final.
“Crazy. I think it’s proof that anything can happen in football,” he said.
“What was I thinking? I was thinking, ‘just hit the corner’.
“The goalkeeper saved it right, he saved it left and then I went back to the right for the third one which thankfully went in.
“I’m just delighted to be through to the final and it means a lot to me given my past record in the competition.
“This was my fifth semi-final and I’m finally going to an Irish Cup final, so it will be very special.”