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Marty Quinn backs his old clubs to serve up best Irish Cup final in years

 

By Steven Beacom

Marty Quinn believes today's Tennent's Irish Cup final between his old sides Coleraine and Cliftonville promises to be a classic encounter.

The eagerly-awaited Windsor Park showdown pits together Oran Kearney's men, out to bounce back from the disappointment of losing out on the league title to Crusaders last weekend, against Barry Gray's side, aiming to become the first group of Reds players to win the Cup for 39 years.

Quinn was a star performer in the final for the victorious Cliftonville team in 1979 and was an inspirational manager for the Bannsiders when they last lifted the trophy in 2003.

With a crowd of 12,000 expected in the stadium, Quinn feels the 2018 decider will be a memorable one.

"They are two good football sides who like to play the game the right way and both teams are capable of creating chances and scoring so I think we could be in for a final to remember," said Quinn.

"Sometimes finals don't live up to expectation but I believe with the players on show at Windsor Park, this should be a really entertaining game.

"I hope it is because it has been a fantastic season for Irish League football and it would be great to have a brilliant Irish Cup final. There will be a big crowd in the stadium and this is the sort of occasion that players should relish and want to show how good they are."

Assessing both teams, Quinn, who led Cliftonville to the title in 1998, stated: "The focus hasn't really been on Cliftonville because there has been so much talk about Coleraine's title challenge and that might suit them.

"It's been a long time since 1979 when Cliftonville last won the Cup, but that team I played in is history now and this is an opportunity for the current side to become heroes at the club.

"They will be confident and I have felt from the competition started that they would win it."

Quinn, who will be at the final working as a radio pundit, added: "The question for Coleraine is will the players have what it takes to bounce back from the league disappointment?

"It would be tough for Coleraine to lose out on the league and Cup in successive weekends after an incredible season.

"They'll need to go into the match believing this is their chance to win some silverware and it is also their opportunity to deliver for the fans after last year's Irish Cup final when they didn't do themselves justice in the 3-0 defeat against Linfield."

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