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Personal pride won't let Crusaders take eye off ball in quest for Irish Cup, says Lowry

Carrick Rangers v Crusaders, Peaky Blinder Irish Cup Sixth Round, Belfast Loughshore Hotel Arena, Today, 3pm

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Crusaders' Philip Lowry

Crusaders' Philip Lowry

Crusaders' Philip Lowry

Crusaders' Irish Cup defence continues at Carrick Rangers this afternoon and midfielder Philip Lowry's hunger for the big stage is as strong as ever.

The 30-year-old, who has just become a father to baby Lucia Rose, has four Cup winner's medals - three with Linfield and one with the Crues last summer.

Lowry grabbed Crusaders' second of the three goals as they swept aside rank outsiders Ballinamallard United in last year's final, and he's already in the mood this year, netting twice in the 3-0 fifth round victory over Dundela at Seaview.

Carrick are still smarting from a stoppage time smash and grab act from Warrenpoint Town last weekend, but the Crues are unlikely to show any complacency, with memories of Queen's University's stunning win over Linfield still fresh in the mind.

"As Cup holders, you want to keep the trophy, but more than that you have your personal pride of wanting to win it again," said Lowry.

"This year it takes on an even bigger importance because of the two league slots for Europe.

"They could go to anyone, while the Cup is a good release from that. You have the prestige of winning it and also the European money, which is significant.

"We are in the final of the League Cup as well, and that's great for keeping players on their toes. Same goes for the Irish Cup. We can use our squad wisely and the Cup finals are certainly big days out.

"We had a great day in last year's final even if it was a bit of a damp squib. We beat big teams to get there."

The Linfield defeat to Queen's in the last round was the talk of the town, but Seaview supremo Stephen Baxter knows how cruel football can be.

"That's football, that's why over all the years you see Cup shocks," said Baxter, who allowed skipper Colin Coates to move to Glenavon.

"It's why we love the game because you don't know what will happen and nothing can be taken for granted.

"It's why we talked about not underestimating anyone, shocks have happened and if your focus isn't right you will suffer.

"It's important we don't take anything for granted."

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