Belfast Telegraph

Is destiny on the side of Cliftonville ahead of the Irish Cup final?

By Adam McKendry and Gareth Hanna

As Cliftonville gear up for their first Irish Cup final since 2013, aiming to end a 39-year wait for the trophy they so desperately crave, it seems like history could be repeating itself from that glorious 1979 triumph.

Here, we take a look at all the similarities between now and then, and why history could be repeating itself all over again...

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Is destiny on the side of Cliftonville this week?

The Pope visits Ireland

In 1979: One of Pope John Paul II's first visits since being elected in October 1978, and the first ever papal visit to Ireland. The Pope visited Dublin, Drogheda, Clonmacnoise, Galway, Knock, Limerick, and Maynooth over the course of three days.

In 2018: Pope Francis chose Ireland to be the next venue for the World Meeting of Families and will travel over for the event in August, where he will meet President Michael D. Higgins and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

The United Kingdom has a female Prime Minister

In 1979: On May 4, 1979 a certain Conservative leader by the name of Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after her party won a parliamentary majority. 'The Iron Lady' would remain in power until 1990 and was widely considered one of the most powerful women in the world.

In 2018: Theresa May is currently in office, also as leader of the Conservative Party, as she has been since July 2016 when she took over from David Cameron. She currently presides over a minority government, supported by the Northern Irish party the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP).

Celtic win the league against Rangers

In 1979: Led by former player Billy McNeill, and featuring great players such as Danny McGrain and Bobby Lennox, the Hoops won the title by three points over rivals Rangers in a tight title race. Rangers would get their revenge by winning the Scottish Cup, however.

In 2018: With Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers in charge, Celtic romped to their seventh league title in a row and can complete an unprecedented double-Treble if they win the Scottish Cup against Motherwell in two weeks' time. It's a golden era for the Glasgow side right now.

An English team in red reaches the European Cup final

In 1979: Having dispatched Liverpool, AEK Athens, Grashopper and Koln on their way to the final, Nottingham Forest would meet Swedish side Malmo FF at the last hurdle in the Olympiastadion, Munich. It would prove to be one of the most famous nights in the club's history as Forest won 1-0.

In 2018: We don't yet know the outcome, but we can guess it'll be a cracking game as Liverpool will meet Spanish giants Real Madrid in Kiev for the Champions League trophy. The Reds have seen off Porto, Manchester City and Roma to get this far and will relish their shot against Zinedine Zidane's side.

Cliftonville win the Irish Cup?

In 1979: Tony Bell was the Reds' hero at Windsor Park, his goal only a minute from time handing them a 3-2 win over Portadown in the final. John Platt and Mike Adair also found the net for Jackie Hutton's side, who are still revered as legends by the Solitude faithful to this day.

In 2018: We'll find out tomorrow...

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