Belfast Telegraph

Crumlin Star now bordering on greatness

Crumlin Star captain Ciaran Burns is looking forward to leading out his side for the biggest match of his playing career so far - this afternoon's Border Cup final with Islandmagee (2pm).

The 24-year-old centre back has only one winner's medal in his collection to date, and he feels that just reaching the final has surpassed the achievement of topping Division 3A with Newington YC reserves three years ago.

Winning today's match is a massive ask for a club who are two divisions below their final opponents.

But the Star have already managed such a feat against Premier Division high-fliers Albert Foundry in the second round - and Burns is backing his team-mates to upset the odds yet again.

He said: "The match against Foundry had us all thinking, 'here, we could actually go on a run this year,' but I don't think any of us expected to reach the final.

"Now that we have though, we have to believe we can win it. We have shown what we are capable of, so why not?"

After the departure of striker Joe Gormley, with his remarkable record of 62 goals in the last campaign, to Cliftonville in the summer, it would have been understandable if Crumlin had struggled this season.

Yet, with an unbeaten start to their league campaign, it looks like this could be the Division 1B club's best ever season in the Amateur League.

Burns added: "We knew Joe was going towards the end of the season, so we were well prepared and ended up bringing in five or six new faces.

"They've done really well for us, and now the place is really buzzing."

Spirits are also high in the Islandmagee camp at the moment.

After three seasons in the top four, the Wilbourne Park club look well primed for a genuine assault on the Premier Division title this season.

And if they can get their hands on the Border Cup, it will be for the first time in Stephen Donald's four-and-a-half year reign.

"Our boys will be pumped up," said the Islandmagee boss.

"Big players like your Moores, your Hilditchs, and your Waides need to be, to get the best out of them.

"Having said that, everything is a bonus for us.

"Nobody expects us to win anything - we are just a wee country team."

Islandmagee are the clear favourites for this match - whether Donald agrees or not.

However this game could be much closer than the league tables suggest.

Belfast Telegraph

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