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Opportunity knocks for Knockbreda boss Raymond Bell

By Stuart McKinley

Knockbreda manager Raymond Bell will resist any temptation there might be to cling to a lucky Irish Cup omen by opting against sending the same team into their sixth round battle with Lurgan Celtic as the one that beat Annagh United in the last round.

Former Glentoran Irish Cup winning hero Michael Halliday donned the goalkeeping gloves when Breda found themselves in the midst of a crisis before the rearranged fifth round tie, but they needn't have worried, with a 5-1 win comfortable seeing them through.

"I'll only play Michael in goal again if we're forced to," said Bell, ahead of tomorrow's trip to Lurgan Celtic. "It says a lot about Michael's character that he stepped up and helped us out in an emergency. He did joke with me that I should have stuck with a winning team for the next game, but I would much rather Michael do what he did in those couple of Irish Cup finals in years gone by and score the winner for us."

Breda were quarter-finalists three seasons ago, when they lost to eventual winners Glentoran.

With the draw offering the possibility of facing another Championship side in the last eight Bell is allowing his thoughts to turn to a fairytale run in the competition.

"Three Premiership teams will go out in this round and the joy of the Irish Cup is that you can dream," said Bell. "First of all though we have to make sure that we give ourselves a reason to dream by getting into the quarter-final draw."

PSNI boss Jamesie Kirk is also looking to the future, while also trying to keep his eye on the ball with a trip to Loughgall standing between his team and the quarter-finals.

"Anything can happen in the Irish Cup and it's a competition I loved as a player," said Kirk, who was in the Carrick Rangers team that lost to Linfield in the 1995 final.

"There are a few potential ties in the next round that would give us a chance. A win against Loughgall and a home draw would be nice and it's only two seasons ago that Queen's University from our league got to the semi-finals. It's doable, but we know Loughgall are a good side."

Belfast Telegraph


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