Belfast Telegraph

Barry keen to lay down final marker for Cliftonville

Cliftonville defender Barry Holland will quickly turn his attentions from celebrating making this season's Irish Cup final to sending out a clear message to his team’s opponents in the decider.

The Reds face Crusaders at Solitude on Saturday, a dress rehearsal for the showpiece on May 9.

While some will play down the significance of the finalists playing each other twice in a fortnight that is not Holland's thinking.

"People say that these games have little bearing on the cup final, but we want to send out a message to Crusaders that they won't get an easy game in the final," Holland maintains.

"We also want to win the match to get three league points as well, but a win would help to give us the edge over them going into the final.

"It's the same sort of scenario as we had against Linfield, when we played them in the league on Saturday and the replay there on Tuesday.

"We wanted to give a good account of ourselves before the cup game and it won't be any different this time.

"The league table doesn't lie, but we know a bad start ruled us out of challenging, so hopefully a strong finish could see us lift the cup.

"We'll probably go into the game as underdogs but that sort of thing doesn't really worry us, as long as we get the result on the day.

"It's good to see two clubs other than Linfield or Glentoran in the final and with it being a North Belfast derby it adds some spice to it"

Holland concedes that the breathtaking finish to the semi-final, where his side found two goals in injury-time, left him almost speechless.

Fellow defender Ciaran Donaghy was the unlikely hero and Holland reveals the player himself made his own bit of history.

"I can't remember ever being involved in a game that had a finish like that one," he reflects.

"Ciaran was actually saying before Tuesday's game that the most he's ever got in a season was three goals and his goal on Tuesday was his fourth," Holland revealed.

"He's like myself, he doesn't get too many goals, but he fairly got an important one against Linfield.

"I thought as the game went on, to be honest, that we deserved to win, even though their second goal knocked the momentum out of us for a while.

"We actually don't usually practice set pieces too much; I think Linfield maybe just switched off for a few seconds late on.”

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph