Dundonald aiming to cause stir in Border Cup showpiece
Dundonald manager Scott Harvey believes this afternoon's Border Regiment Cup final at Seaview has captured the imagination of the east Belfast public.
His men will take on local rivals East Belfast in what promises to be a hotly contested affair. The battle between the two Amateur League 1A sides is expected to attract a bumper crowd, with clubs hoping to bring busloads of supporters to the Shore Road venue.
Harvey explained: "Everywhere you go, everyone you talk to, it's all about the Border Cup final. Everyone seems to be going to Seaview for this match.
"It's great for football in the east Belfast and Dundonald area. This is a football-crazy part of the world, so this game has attracted a lot of interest.
"It's great for Dundonald because this is our first ever Border Cup final. I remember in the '80s my father and my uncle playing in a semi-final against Killyleagh, but that's as far as we ever got.
"It means everything to our club to be in the final and we're determined to do ourselves justice."
While favourites East Belfast will be hoping to collect their third Border Regiment Cup, Harvey believes Dundonald have the quality to spring a surprise.
He added: "We've got quality players in this team. My brother, Ryan, has two Steel & Sons Cup medals, Philip Simpson was a professional at Glentoran and played for Distillery, Jonny Tumelty played for Crusaders and Andrew Fox did nets for Ards and Bangor. Mark Reid was at Ards too.
"That experience gives me confidence in my squad. We've big game experience and that will help us."
While East Belfast are a club with a rich heritage, winning the Amateur League on nine occasions, it wasn't that long ago that they were on the verge of folding.
With limited funds, the club axed their reserve side while their first team were relegated to the third tier of Amateur League football but they have enjoyed a renaissance under manager Stephen Matthews.
Last year they cruised to the 1B title, while this season they expect to make a push for promotion to the Premier Division.
Traditionally the final act in the flurry of festive finals, this afternoon's decider will be just the second match to beat the weather after the Bob Radcliffe and Craig Memorial clashes fell foul of waterlogged pitches.
Institute and Limavady United will try again for Craig Memorial success when they clash at Moyola Park's Mill Meadow home tomorrow.
While a new date has yet to be arranged for Armagh City and Loughgall's mid-Ulster affair, Harland & Wolff Welders got their hands on seasonal silverware with a 4-1 penalty success over Albert Foundry after their Christmas Steel & Sons Cup encounter finished 1-1 after extra time.