Sunday, May 19, 2024

Irish Cup: Conor Pepper hopes Irish Cup win will take Reds to ‘next level’

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Cliftonville celebrated their long-awaited Irish Cup win with a bus parade around Belfast.

Pepper, who celebrated his 30th birthday and played the full game on Saturday against his former side, admits he was taken aback by the number of supporters that lined the streets across the city.

“It’s been an unbelievable weekend for the club, and you probably can’t describe what it meant to everyone,” added Pepper, who also won the Irish Cup with Glentoran and Linfield before joining the Reds in 2023.

“I probably didn’t understand how much winning the Irish Cup was weighing on people here it was more at the end of the games with the scenes and seeing people like Chris Curran cry I was like ‘that’s been hurting’, he explained.

Pepper continued: “When you’re coming to Cliftonville everyone says it is a real community club and very close-knit and really seeing all the different areas around the city and how it was for the fans it really put that into perspective.

“Marty Donnelly [former Cliftonville winger who won two Gibson Cups with the Reds] was texting me about it a couple of days before and that bus parade hammered home what it meant.

“I didn’t know what to expect but when we were going past Zara in the city centre and people were videoing us, people who weren’t even football fans! It was a great thing for the whole city.”

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