Belfast Telegraph

Stuart King striving to lift maiden trophy with Banbridge Town

Stuart King has won his first trophy as a manager.
Stuart King has won his first trophy as a manager.

By Steven Beacom

Banbridge Town boss Stuart King would love the Bob Radcliffe Cup to be his first trophy in a long and successful managerial career but knows final opponents Dollingstown won't make it easy.

Former Linfield hero King may have been the joker in the pack as a player but he takes leading Banbridge seriously and is determined to lift the Crystal Park outfit to their first success in the competition since 2010.

Dollingstown, managed by Stephen Uprichard, will stand in their way today at Lakeview Park (11am).

The encounter between the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League sides should be a hard fought affair played in front of a healthy crowd at Loughgall's home ground.

King said: "I have a lot of respect for Stephen Uprichard and his team but I believe if we can produce the performance we are capable of it can be a great day for Banbridge Town.

"It is the type of game I would love to play in and hopefully our boys will relish the occasion.

"The team have done superbly to get to the final and now it is about delivering and winning the trophy. It'll be the biggest match I've been involved in since becoming a manager and I would love it to be my first trophy in charge of Banbridge. I am ambitious and want to go on and win lots of silverware as a manager."

Bottom of the table Dollingstown may not have been as strong as mid-table Banbridge in the league this season but they have recent knowledge of winning the competition having defeated Coagh United 5-1 in the 2016 final.

Dollingstown lost 1-0 at home in the league to Armagh City last Saturday while Banbridge drew 1-1 with Newington.

The Craig Memorial Cup final also takes place today with Tobermore United meeting Maiden City at Fortwilliam Park (11.30am).

Tobermore will come into the game as overwhelming favourites, however that isn't deterring Maiden City boss Colm Cassidy.

"Being a cup final you never know, but it will definitely give them an advantage," he admitted. "They will have a lot of support there, whereas last year for ourselves and Portstewart it was a neutral ground and the support was equal. This year Tobermore will have a far superior support."

Tomorrow, Ballynahinch Olympic face Crumlin Star in the Border Cup final at Seaview (2.30pm).

Olympic manager Liam Sloan said: "To reach the final is absolutely incredible. To be honest, since joining the Amateur League we have focused on promotion and have not worried too much about cup competitions.

"Now that we've reached the Premier Division, we can give the cup competitions everything we have."

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