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Cup run still Ballymena’s best chance of a trophy, says David Jeffrey

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Excited: David Jeffrey looking forward to another Irish Cup run. Credit: INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Excited: David Jeffrey looking forward to another Irish Cup run. Credit: INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

©INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

Excited: David Jeffrey looking forward to another Irish Cup run. Credit: INPHO/Stephen Hamilton

While Ballymena United enjoyed the step up into the top six of the Danske Bank Premiership last weekend, the return of knock-out competition has set David Jeffrey’s competitive juices flowing.

The Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup returns this weekend with the Sky Blues playing host to Loughgall at Warden Street.

United, who haven’t lifted the trophy since 1989, came awfully close two seasons ago when they lost out in extra-time to Glentoran and while Jeffrey has top six in his sights, he would love to add more silverware to his already bulging trophy cabinet.

“Cup competitions give Ballymena the best opportunity of trophy success,” he said.

“We’ve obviously got to a number of finals, whether it be League Cup, Co. Antrim Shield and the Irish Cup when our last memory was playing Glentoran when we were excellent and should really have won the game on that evening.”

Championship outfit Loughgall certainly fall into the ‘banana skin’ category, the Mid-Ulster side currently sitting in fourth spot in the league but with games in hand over the sides above them.

“We know how difficult it is going to be against Loughgall,” added Jeffrey.

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“We’ve had them watched several times because on the day anything can happen with it being a cup competition.

“Hopefully we can have as many players back fit and available as our Covid/injury list is lengthy but we’re looking forward but know it is going to be a very tough ask.”

One man who won’t be involved is utility player Owen McKeown who left the club this week by mutual consent.

“We signed Owen from Crumlin United when it was clear against us that he had the talent to step up, and he has always served us and his team-mates most faithfully,” Jeffrey said.

“He is a young man full of integrity, ability and hard work and this reflected in some great performances. He feels that he needs to be playing regular first team football though, and so we reluctantly have agreed to let him go, and it comes as no surprise that there has been immediate interest in him.

“We would like to thank him for his contribution and service here and give him only our best wishes for the future.


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