Tommy Breslin insists Cliftonville will not be motivated by revenge in the IRN-BRU Cup decider against their noisy neighbours Crusaders.
The north-Belfast giants have both progressed to the Sky televised final on January 26 — adding weight to the view there has been a power shift in the domestic game.
While the traditional ‘Big Two’ Linfield and Glentoran have swallowed a lot of pain this season, the Reds and Crues are on an upward curve with both sides leading the way in the title race.
All-Ireland champions Crusaders now have the opportunity to retain their IRN-BRU Cup prize next month but the Reds haven’t forgotten the 2009 Irish Cup Final when Mark Dickson’s goal ensured the trophy ended up on the Shore Road.
It promises to be another tasty derby encounter but Solitude supremo Breslin says players will not be out to avenge the Irish Cup nightmare.
“The 2009 final is gone now and we have been in semi-finals and finals since then and moved on,” said Breslin.
“We won the County Antrim Shield which was a memorable time but there’s no getting away from the fact a north-Belfast derby in a cup final will be a special occasion for everyone.
“But it’s never about revenge — it’s always about going out and giving your best in the hope of winning silverware.
“I think it’s refreshing for the league that Crusaders and Cliftonville are performing so well and taking some of the spotlight off the other Belfast sides.
“There’s a great atmosphere at the games and a real hunger with the players because we lost the semi-final last year to Cliftonville and our league form has demonstrated that we want to win something — we haven’t won anything yet.
“There’s big tests against Crusaders coming up but Saturday’s game at Ballinamallard will be very difficult.”