Belfast Telegraph

We're gripped by Irish Cup magic says Cliftonville's Jamie Harney

By Graham Luney

Jamie Harney says this season has been a real eye opener for him when it comes to understanding what the Irish Cup means to the Red Army.

The glittering prize hasn't been spotted at Solitude since 1979 but the current side, in Barry Gray's first season as manager, have a chance to make history.

Former Northern Ireland Under-21 defender Harney returned home after five-and-a-half years at West Ham United and Colchester United and after a year out he's loving life at Cliftonville.

The 22-year-old central defender formed a commanding partnership with Garry Breen and he now has the golden opportunity to sign off his first season with the club in sensational style.

"It's been crazy and we've realised how important this competition is for the club and fans," said the man from Plumbridge in County Tyrone.

"I've only been here for a year as a player, but I supported Cliftonville growing up.

"It didn't take me long to realise how important the Irish Cup is for this club, but as a player you should thrive off that.

"As a club we should be striving to win these trophies and be successful."

The Reds players can feel the hand of history on their shoulders and that chance to hit the big time should be embraced rather than feared.

"It's in the back of your mind that it has been so long and you hear about hoodoos and so on," added Harney.

"You also hear people mentioning the Pope's visit and a female PM and so on, but we have to focus on the game in front of us.

"The cup run has been hard fought to get where we are, but it'll all come down to how we play on the day. If we perform the way we know we can, we've got a really good chance.

"We won't be afraid of anyone because we know the quality that lies within our team."

Belfast Telegraph

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