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McCotter hoping Star men shoot into Cup semi-finals

By David Kelly

Published 18/11/2016

On the ball: Keelan Cairns has big role to play in Cup bid
On the ball: Keelan Cairns has big role to play in Cup bid

It could well prove to be the highlight of their season and Belfast Star chairman Bill McCotter is desperate for his side to deliver tomorrow night in the quarter-finals of the All Ireland Cup.

Star, whose home games are sponsored by Tayto, may only have a solitary victory on the board in the All Ireland Premier League but they have placed themselves in a great position from which to make the last four of the Cup, trailing Moycullen by just a point from the first leg.

Chairman McCotter is naturally disappointed with how the league campaign has unfolded and is happy to take some of the blame - highlighting the signing of American Greg Womack who was a complete flop. Dillon Stith has come in and looks a real gem.

McCotter said: "I have to take my share of the blame for the signing of our first American, he was just terrible and if Dillon had been in from the start then we would have had at least two other wins on the board.

"Now we have this great chance to make the semi-finals of the Cup for the first time in over a decade. It's a huge game - the biggest game the club has had in years, without a doubt.

"If we could make the semi-finals it would be a huge boost for everyone at the club and we have a real chance.

"We have played Moycullen twice this season and lost by a point and then in overtime so there's not much between the teams.

"For us, it's critical that Dillon and Keelan Cairns play to their ability and if they do then we have a real shot at going through.

"Keelan has been having a very good season and if we could just get a bit more firepower from a few others it would make a big difference.

"As far I'm concerned, this game is our season - it means that much."

McCotter admits that Star are facing a little bit of a wake-up call in terms of how the All Ireland league has developed with the top sides stacked with foreign players.

"The league is very tough, it has become a lot more physical with many east European players and some Spanish guys as well and they're all very big and strong. The teams at the top have the resources to bring them in and that is crucial," added McCotter.

"That has been the trend and it's very obvious this season. The depth of the other squads is the main difference at the moment and that is something down the line that we can try and address but it's all about resources.

"An example of that is in the point guard position where we have to play Paddy McGaharan and that can restrict the points he would give us in his natural position.

"But overall the club is in a good position. Our under-20s have made the quarter-finals of the Cup and our under-18s are into the last 16.

"Now we're hoping the senior lads can deliver a massive win."

Belfast Telegraph

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