St Pat's looking forward to Intermediate Cup clash with Crumlin Star
St Pat’s YM boss Ciaran Smyth isn’t too proud to admit that the Intermediate Cup isn’t high on his list of priorities this season… but that sentiment will go out the window when his side face Crumlin Star in the second round of the competition this Friday evening.
The very nature of the Intermediate Cup means it is difficult for Amateur League clubs to win, particularly with clubs from the Belfast Telegraph Championship entering in the next round, and this often results in clubs at this level readjusting their focus when it comes to their approach to this competition. A rare exception to this was the case of Ards Rangers, who made it all the way to the final two seasons ago, only to be defeated by Institute.
However, what might have otherwise been an extra headache for Smyth has now been given an added significance, given the opposition lying in his wake.
He explained: “I wouldn’t usually give a monkey’s how we got in the Intermediate Cup. You have to play so many rounds, and you don’t know where you are going to have to travel to. But this is different.
“Sean (Brown, Crumlin Star manager) lives in the next street from me. I’m in and out of his house a few times a week. We’re good mates and grew up with each other.
“It’s the same with the players, too. Most of them know each other, so it’ll be a big game for them. Crumlin Star were drawn at home, but the fact is that we both play at the Cliff in Larne, so that was always where the game was going to be.
“They have a semi-final game in the Border Cup, and it’s either going to be on the Monday or the Wednesday, so we agreed to move our game to the Friday (7.30pm), under the spotlights. We’re expecting a big crowd. As well as the support for both clubs, there’ll be a lot of local supporters interested to, from the likes of Larne Tech, Islandmagee and Wellington Rec, I’m sure.”
As motivated as both teams will be for this fixture, however, it still pales into insignificance in comparison to their respective league ambitions.
With the blistering 100 per cent start made by Ards Rangers in the current campaign, Crumlin find themselves in the same predicament as the rest of the Premier Division, playing catch-up with the runaway leaders.
St Pat’s, on the other hand, have only lost one game in Division 1A this season, though find themselves also with their own fair share of catching up to do, paying the price for cup progress with a backlog of fixtures already beginning to pile up.
But for this weekend, all thoughts will be on this tantalising cup fixture. And with experienced old heads like Keith Mulvenna and Mickey Collins on board, Smyth has reason to feel a degree of quiet confidence that his side can give their higher-ranked opponents a run for their money.
And while there is bound to be plenty of passion and commitment in the game, Smyth insists it will be played in the right spirit.
He added: “It will be a footballing game. You might even have your odd case of handbags, but that will be all it is. It’s just a case of sticking your chest out and getting on with it. There will be no animosity.
“We are all very much looking forward to it.”
Intermediate Cup Second Round: Albert Foundry v Ballynahinch Olympic, Ardglass v Crusaders Res, Ards Rangers v Rosario, Ardstraw v Downshire YM, Ballinamallard United Res v Newry City AFC, Ballynure OB v Rathfern Rangers, Ballywalter Rec v Grove United, Bangor Amateurs v Newtowne, Broomhedge v Strabane Athletic, Broomhill v Dungiven, Coleraine Res v Bloomfield, Colin Valley v East Belfast, Crumlin Star v St Patricks YM, Crumlin United v Banbridge Rangers, Dundonald v Malachians, Dunloy v Killyleagh YC, Hanover v Newcastle, Immaculata v Chimney Corner, Islandmagee v Magherafelt Sky Blues, Killymoon Rangers v Rathcoole, Kilmore Rec v Downpatrick, Larne Tech OB v Glentoran II, Linfield Swifts v Dromara Village, Lisburn Rangers v Comber Rec, Lurgan Town v Bourneview Mill, Newbuildings United v Derriaghy CC, Nortel v Fivemiletown United, Orangefield OB v Drumaness Mills, Oxford Sunnyside v Bryansburn Rangers, Saintfield United v Portaferry Rovers, Shankill United v Holywood, Tandragee Rovers v 1st Bangor, UUJ v Warrenpoint Town Res, Valley Rangers v Cliftonville Olympic, Wellington Rec v Moneyslane.
Belfast Telegraph Digital