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Harney giving his all to break Reds' 39-year hoodoo



On mission: Jamie Harney is keen to sample Cup glory

On mission: Jamie Harney is keen to sample Cup glory

©INPHO/Freddie Parkinson

On mission: Jamie Harney is keen to sample Cup glory

Jamie Harney has been at Cliftonville for just 10 months but he is already fed up hearing about the club's Irish Cup failures.

It's been a well-documented 39 years since skipper Marty Quinn lifted the biggest knockout prize in Irish League football.

Now, former West Ham man Harney intends to address that drought when the Reds face Loughgall in today's Tennent's Irish Cup semi-final at The Oval.

It's a David versus Goliath occasion with Dean Smith's Championship side given little hope against the firepower of Joe Gormley, Rory Donnelly and co. However, 22-year-old Harney will be taking nothing for granted.

"Loughgall are in the semi-final for a reason, they are there on merit," he said. "You only have to look at their quarter-final result against Glenavon to tell you they are a good side.

"They achieved a victory at Mourneview Park - a venue where a lot of Premiership teams failed to win this season. Loughgall have proved they'll be formidable opponents, so we must approach the game in the proper manner and be professional.

"We are in the semi-final. I don't care who scores the goals as long as we make the final. It's been a long time since the club lifted the Cup - it has become a bit of a weight around the neck of everyone.

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"If anything, we'll now use it as a motivational factor - 39 years is a long time. It's a great opportunity for the players to lay that ghost to rest once and for all.

"But we can't allow it to overshadow this semi-final which requires our full focus."

Although it took him some time to settle after returning home from England, the defender believes he is now adjusting to life in the Irish League.

"It's always difficult coming back from full-time football - I've seen it so many times," added Harney. "I knew it wouldn't be easy and I'm still learning, but I'm enjoying it again.

"I think we have one of the best strike forces in the league, with the two Donnellys (Rory and Jay) along with Joe (Gormley). Those boys can score goals in any class of company.

"Hopefully, they can come up with the goods - it would be great to give the fans a big day out."

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