Belfast Telegraph

Doyle confident Distillery can upset odds over Carrick in Intermediate Cup semis

By Keith Bailie

Lisburn Distillery striker Stephen Doyle believes the Whites can spring a surprise in Wednesday night's Intermediate Cup semi-final against Carrick Rangers, despite selection problems.

Title chasers Carrick will be odds-on favourites to claim their place in the final, but Doyle thinks Distillery can put up a fight at the Bangor Fuels Arena on Wednesday night (7.30pm), even without the suspended trio of Joe McDonell, Jimmy McIlhagga and Darren Nixon.

Striker Doyle said: "It's a blow for us to lose a few of our more experienced players through suspension, but at the same time, it's an opportunity for some of our younger guys to step in and stake a claim for a place in the starting XI.

"At this time of the season, players are looking to impress the manager with next season in mind. There's no better way of impressing the manager than putting in a great performance in the semi-final. It's a great chance for some of our guys to show they're capable of performing against top teams like Carrick."

While the Whites have struggled in the league in recent months, former Dungannon Swifts man Doyle believes the motivation of an Intermediate Cup final will bring out the best in Tommy Kincaid's side.

"We haven't been on the best run as of late, but I think that's the beauty of any cup game, because league form goes out the window and while Carrick will be the bookies' favourites, if we play the way we are capable of then it will certainly be a good game for the neutral. We will be trying our best to earn ourselves a spot in the final. It would be a great way to finish the season for us."

Although Distillery sit eighth in the table, Doyle himself has enjoyed a good season.

"I've missed a lot more games than I would have liked, through injuries and suspension, but have still managed to hit double figures with goals, so I've got to take the positives from that. It's been tough for us at times in terms of our league campaign, but I think everyone at the club would be delighted if we could reach this final and end our season on a high. I think the players and fans deserve a big day as it hasn't always been easy this year."

In Wednesday's other semi-final, Bangor will play Harland & Wolff Welders at Seaview (7.30pm). The Welders will be without the suspended left-back William Armstrong, while both sides will be looking to reach their second semi-final of the season.

Bangor boss Jeff Montgomery said: "It's going to be a difficult game against a good side in Harland & Wolff Welders. They've already been in one cup final, so we certainly won't be treating them lightly. When we play the Welders, it's normally a good footballing game, so it's important myself and the backroom staff get the lads prepared for this game."

Bangor are the current holders of the trophy, and this year's final is penciled in for Friday 1 May. 

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