The chairman of Queen’s University football team was told not to return to the club unless he landed Linfield or Glentoran in the Co-operative Insurance Cup second round draw yesterday.
And he left the Oval a happy man, knowing he is likely to return to the east Belfast venue to see his side take on the mighty Glentoran — current holders of the glittering prize.
Yesterday’s draw was seeded, therefore generating several David v Goliath contests — and Queen’s along with Killymoon Rangers — who will take on Linfield — hit the jackpot.
As the home side, the Championship 2 club can decide to bring Glentoran to Newforge but it makes financial sense to switch the game to the Oval on Saturday, September 18.
“I was told not to come away without Glentoran or Linfield so that’s job done,” said Clarke.
“The players and manager (Neil Evans) told me that. I’ve been texting the boys and letting them know — they are all really looking forward to it.
“We had one guy, midfielder Paddy Donnelly, who came through the ranks at Glentoran until 18 months ago when he went to Banbridge Town and then he came to us.
“Our manager wants to play the game at Newforge as we’re more likely to win it there, but I’m not so sure. It’ll be a big occasion.”
Clarke said he believed Queen’s had never faced either Linfield or Glentoran in a competitive fixture before.
“In the Roadferry Cup, over 11 years, we played teams like Coleraine, Ards and Cliftonville but not the Big Two,” he added.
“Hopefully the tie might encourage a few players to join the team while existing players will raise their game in the hope of playing against the Glens.”
Glenavon pounced to re-sign Sammy Stewart last night.
The midfielder, who began his career at Glenavon, had a spell at Aberdeen before his release by the Scottish Premier League side last season.