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Cup holders Cliftonville can dent Linfield clean sweep bid

By Graham Luney

Published 23/09/2016

Silver lining: Cliftonville Ladies captain Tiarna McKenna and her counterpart, Sarah Venney, hope to get their hands on the Irish Cup tonight
Silver lining: Cliftonville Ladies captain Tiarna McKenna and her counterpart, Sarah Venney, hope to get their hands on the Irish Cup tonight

It will be a Belfast derby match with an added spice at Windsor Park tonight as Linfield Ladies and Cliftonville Ladies battle for the Irish FA Women's Challenge Cup.

The Blues are going for the domestic clean sweep, but the Solitude girls, who finished runners-up in the league, are holders of the glittering prize.

Having cruised to the league title, the Blues then claimed the Co Antrim FA Women's Cup and, just a few days after the Irish Cup decider, they will take on Newry City Ladies in the NIFL League Cup final.

Mark Dickson, Crusaders' Irish Cup Final hero from the 2009 final when he netted the winner against the Reds, will take charge of the hosts with manager Ryan McConville in America.

Cliftonville Ladies captain Tiarna McKenna is dreaming of a magical night under the lights at Windsor Park.

"We finished second place in the league behind Linfield which brings together an exciting cup final," said goalkeeper McKenna.

"It'll be a fantastic night here, it's something you dream of as a kid growing up, it's not just a boys thing, it is certainly for girls too growing up playing football, this is where you want to be."

Linfield Ladies skipper Sarah Venney says the Blues are hungry for more silverware and the league and cup double would taste sweet.

"It's been a brilliant season for us so far, probably the most successful in our history but the season is far from over with the Irish Cup final," Venney said.

"It would be unbelievable to win this one, the girls have their eyes firmly set on this one. We have been training hard and working hard and we want to come out here and show the talent in the team."

The Cliftonville girls will be on a revenge mission after losing a high scoring encounter against the Blues in the County Antrim decider. Tickets for tonight's game cost just £5 for adults or £3 concessions.

Belfast Telegraph

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