Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

McAreavey ready to stop Cliftonville treble charge

Paul McAreavey is eyeing up a cup shock
Paul McAreavey is eyeing up a cup shock

Paul McAreavey is planning to derail Cliftonville's treble challenge by wrecking the Reds' Irish Cup dreams.

There may be no stopping Tommy Breslin's men as they march towards a first league title in 15 years, but McAreavey is determined to stop them from adding the premier knockout competition in the country to the IRN-BRU League Cup they won just a couple of weeks ago.

Indeed McAreavey, who made his return to the Donegal Celtic midfielder last month after missing most of the last three years, has his own dreams of winning the Irish Cup again, but he knows that he and his team-mates will have a fight on their hands against the Premiership leaders at Solitude today, after losing 1-0 at Suffolk Road last month.

"We have to go there and battle in the same way that we did against them in the league at our place a couple of weeks ago," said McAreavey.

"If we can play well, stick together and not make mistakes then I believe that we have a chance of winning the game and getting into the last eight of the Irish Cup.

"We have the players to do it. Paul Bradley has been playing well at the back, Conor Downey is back to his best and Sean Cleary has been outstanding.

"We just need to score a few more goals."

McAreavey has three Irish Cup medals in his collection from his time at Linfield – which is as many as the entire Cliftonville squad put together.

Add in the four held by Pat McShane, Conor Downey's one – and one for manager Pat McAllister – and DC aren't short of Irish Cup pedigree.

"We have a few players who have had success in their careers, but we're all in our 30s now, while Cliftonville's big players are in their 20s – that's the difference," said McAreavey.

"I have great memories of winning the Irish Cup with Linfield, particularly the year we beat Glentoran to do the clean sweep.

"I'm not giving up on getting to another Irish Cup final, you always dream of that, but it will be tough."

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