Belfast Telegraph

Kelly doesn't want to dwell on past heartbreak

By David Mason

Ballymoney's Gary Kelly insists his team can't afford to dwell on past disappointments as they embark an another IBA Senior Cup campaign.

The Provincial boys have experienced a heartbreaking run of results in the sport's top knockout tournament, which culminated in yet another final defeat by Coleraine last August.

It was their third gut-wrenching disappointment in the showcase decider since 2010. On that occasion, they lost by one shot to Ballymena.

Ballymoney were back in the final again in 2012, only to lose out to Dunbarton before their Provincial rivals, Coleraine, piled on the agony. Now they start all over again, away to NIBA side Donaghadee tomorrow.

"You couldn't have written the script," said Kelly. "We've suffered our fair share of heartbreak in recent years.

"We've been the most consistent team in the tournament since 2010... we've also lost in two semi-finals. Three finals and two semis isn't bad going with such top class company. But we still haven't crossed the finishing line.

"We'll be taking nothing for granted against Donaghadee. They are now a Division One side, so we'll need to be at our best. Any away cup tie is sure to be tricky.

"Our early league form has been good as we sit at the top of the table after four games, so it's important to keep that going."

Ballymoney have added Brian Smyth and Nigel Steele to the squad this season, which will help beef up an impressive line-up.

"We must set the past disappointments aside," added Kelly. "We can't afford to be distracted. We've shown that we are one of the strongest teams in the country, so hopefully we can take off on another great cup run."

Meanwhile, cup holders Coleraine face an early acid test when they welcome Private Greens League kingpins Dunbarton, while Whitehead host Larne.

Fixtures: IBA Senior Cup, second round: Aer Lingus v Rathfriland, Ballycastle v Knock, Ballymena v Ballywalter, Ballymena Park v Old Bleach, Belmont v Dun Laogharie, CYM v Saintfield, Castleton v Bangor, Coleraine v Dunbarton, Cookstown v Comber, Crumlin v Belfast, Divis v City of Belfast, Donaghadee v Ballymoney, Dromore v Kilrea, Ewarts v Sydenham, Falls v Lisnagarvey, Forth River v Banbridge, Kenilworrth v Bray, Leinster v Balmoral, Letterkenny v Meath, Lurgan v Cavehill, Musgrave v Dungannon, NICS v Hilden, North Belfast v Portglenone, Pickie v Belmont Park, Portadown v Castle, Portrush v Shorts, Salisbury v Carrickfergus, Shaftesbury v Malone, St James's Gate v Blackrock, Ulster Transport v Mossley, Whitehead v Larne, Willowfield v Dundonald.

IBA Junior Cup, second round:

Antrim v Comber, BETS v ICICYMA, Ballycastle v Donaghadee, Belmont v Ierne, Bray v St James's Gate, Brooke Park v Clontarf, Carrickfergus v Greystones, Castle v CYM, Castleton v Pickie, Cloughey v City of Derry, Coleraine v Cavehill, Divis v Belmont Park, Downpatrick v Ballymoney, Dromore v Falls, Dunbarton v Willowfield, Dungiven v Crumlin, Holywood v Whitehead, Larne v Brookgreen, Limavady v Bessbrook, Lurgan v Letterkenny, Mossley v Newcastle, Musgrave v Portadown, North Down v Banbridge, Old Bleach v Dunluce, Ormeau v Ballymena, Portstewart v Castlerock, Rathfriland v Lisnagarvey, Ulster Transport v Cookstown, Warrenpoint v Ards, Westmanstown v Portrush.

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