Belfast Telegraph

Distillery's Kincaid taking nothing for granted ahead of Dundela Intermediate Cup tie

By Martin Mawhinney

Lisburn Distillery face a very familiar foe in the form of Dundela in this weekend’s Intermediate Cup quarter-final, but Whites manager Tommy Kincaid insists it neither works in their favour nor against them that they will have taken on the Duns in the league just seven days previously.

Kincaid’s side beat their opponents 3-0 on Saturday, to leave Mark Snodden’s basement strugglers three points adrift at the foot of the table with just seven league games remaining. It has been a tough season for Dundela, and especially so in recent weeks with the stark reality of potential relegation staring them straight in the face.

Yet, just as he feels their weekend result will have no bearing on their forthcoming cup clash, Kincaid is equally adamant that nothing should be read into their present league standing with this quarter-final approaching.

“There is no good time to play a team like Dundela,” the Distillery boss remarked. “It is always a hard game against them, because Mark always has his teams fired up.

“I’m very surprised to see where they are in the league at the minute, because they had such a good season last year, but they have lost players, and it is hard to lose players and still cope at this level. 

“Anyway, for me, it isn’t about whether we are getting them at a good or bad time… it’s about what we do.”

And while few in pre-season were predicting Dundela would be in a relegation battle this year, probably just as few would have expected the Whites to be outside of the promotion picture quite so early in the campaign.

The sight of Distillery outside of the top flight is still an unusual one for many, but Kincaid is the last person to take anything for granted about the club’s standing.

At present, the Whites are about as near to the bottom two as the top two in Championship One, and their season looks to be coming down to this cup competition… yet the manager will continue to push his side for a positive season to the league campaign. Complacency isn’t in his vocabulary.

“At the end of the day, you do keep looking over your shoulder until someone tells you that (relegation) is no longer mathematically over your shoulder.

“It wasn’t that long ago that we were talking about pushing for a play-off place – it just shows you how quickly things can change in this league. One week, Ballyclare Comrades beat us 6-2, the very next, we are knocking them out on penalties in the Intermediate Cup.”

And Kincaid believes the fast pace of change in the Championship can also be applied on a much grander scale, citing league leaders Bangor as the perfect example.

He recalled: “A year and a half ago, I sat with my assistant Andy Harwood and the Distillery secretary Colin Hopkins on the last day of the season to see Bangor take on Tobermore, needing a draw to stay in the division. Just look where they are now. There is a lot can be done with good resources and a lot of hard work.

“We have lost players this season, and there have been a number of changes at the club, but we have good supporters helping to run it at the moment, and the directors have been brilliant with me. I have to take my hat off to them.”

It would be a great end to the season to reward that hard work with the Intermediate Cup, but for now, Kincaid and his side will just be focussed on reaching the semi-finals.

Bangor have already reached the last four with a 2-1 win over Armagh City on Saturday, while in this weekend’s other quarter-finals, Dergview host Carrick Rangers, while Harland & Wolff Welders travel to Immaculata.

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