Belfast Telegraph

Crumlin lads can be big stars

By Graham Luney

Crumlin Star will have the Irish League's most lethal finisher in their corner when they go into battle against Crusaders today.

Joe 'the goal' Gormley may now have hero status at Cliftonville but his goals for the Amateur League cup kings remain an inspiration to the minnows as they look to stun the Crues.

Gormley, who this week took his season goals tally in the Premiership to an astonishing 27, has given his old club a special good luck message ahead of the Fifth Round clash at Seaview.

The Star boys, who train on the Reds' Solitude surface on Mondays and Wednesdays, just might fancy their chances on the Shore Road if Gormley was still in their ranks.

But the Premier Division hopefuls, who reached this season's Steel & Sons Cup semi-finals, will at least be able to tap into Gormley's knowledge of his derby rivals.

"Joe used to bang in the goals for us but another old boy Joe McNeill has moved onto Coleraine while Ciaran Burns went to Donegal Celtic," said Star boss Sean Brown.

"Joe loved playing for us and he will be back. He's scoring for fun at Cliftonville but one day in his career he will wear the Crumlin Star shirt again. I've no doubt about that. He loves the club. It still means so much to him.

"He's always willing to give our strikers tips and help the club progress.

"People run down the Irish League but they are just armchair supporters.

"If they came to matches they would see guys like Joe showing their class and showing the talents that could take them to a higher level. Joe deserves to get that chance.

"He's already scored 27 goals this season and to our club he's a role model, an example of what you can achieve in the game if you work hard enough.

"Cliftonville have also been very supportive and the groundshare was an example of that. I know Bressy (Tommy Breslin) from our playing days at Chimney Corner and I grew up close to Gerard Lawlor (chairman).

"Crumlin Star would not be where we are today without Cliftonville's backing and of course we train at Solitude two nights a week."

The Crues will be well aware of Star's cup pedigree.

Among the highlights have been back-to-back Border Cups, a Clarence Cup success and three Cochrane Corry Cup victories.

Although the overwhelming majority of players are from north Belfast, they must play their home fixtures at The Cliff in Larne.

"We are in the process of trying to secure a 3G pitch at Marrowbone at Oldpark and if that can be achieved by next season it would be wonderful," added Brown.

Star's under-11 side will act as mascots and at half-time they will take on their Crusaders counterparts.

"The whole club is buzzing and we wanted as much of the club involved as possible," added Brown.

"I was watching Crusaders beat Dungannon Swifts on Sky Sports and I'll admit they were superb against a strong Dungannon side.

"I know Stephen (Baxter) will make changes but I was talking to Chris Morrow and he wants to play. Any side they put out will be firm favourites to beat us.

"We've played a lot of matches on the Seaview surface including two Border Cup finals while Dundela beat us in the semi-finals of the Steel & Sons so the venue will hold no fears for us.

"It's a great draw for us. We could have been beaten by a Championship side but we are never going to win the Irish Cup so you just want to play one of the big guns and we are delighted.

"Take nothing away from Newington who shocked Glentoran a few years ago but this Crusaders team is a very different proposition.

"Our players would need to be at their best while the Crues would have to have a major off day. Maybe I'll hire a Citybus and park it in front of the goal!

"We will try our best to disrupt them and break them up. Sometimes the underdogs do win so we can all hope for a shock."

Brown is hoping his players do themselves justice at Seaview but rumours Star have secured Gormley's services in a one-match loan deal are greatly exaggerated!

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph