Cup win will be difficult, says Foundry boss McIlwaine
They may have been tipped for glory elsewhere this year, but when it comes to the Steel & Sons Cup, Albert Foundry manager Colin McIlwaine knows the odds are against him and his team.
The Paisley Park side reached the competition’s last eight at the weekend, but they will have their work cut out to progress any further, given the quality of opposition that remains in the quarter-final draw.
Typically, teams from Belfast Telegraph Championship One fare well in the blue ribband competition, and this year is no different, with five teams from the second highest league in Northern Ireland in the hat. The other two remaining teams are cup specialists Crumlin Star and the winners from Immaculata’s postponed fixture with Newington YC (which will be played on Wednesday).
McIlwaine admitted: “Being honest, we have to be massive underdogs. Every one of those teams will be pulling out all the stops to get to that final on Christmas morning, and we’ll probably need a home draw to have any chance.
“I never said that we would win anything this season — all I have asked for the players is to do their best.”
Foundry certainly seemed to do just that on Saturday, as they conceded an early goal in their fourth round tie with Division 1A outfit UUJ, but equalised through Graham Beck before half time, with strikes from Gary Young and Stuart Doyle sealing the victory.
Now McIlwaine is calling for his troops to maintain a sense of perspective as they look ahead to the latter stages of the Steel & Sons Cup and the huge challenge facing them.
He said: “We have a big tie against Dunmurry Rec in the last 16 of the Border Cup next Saturday, and realistically, that is probably a more significant game for us, because it is an all-Amateur League competition.
“But the fact that we have reached the last eight of a competition like the Steel & Sons Cup is a massive achievement in itself. It is great to represent the Amateur League at this level, and although we know it is going to get tougher, I also know that we have a squad more than capable of holding its own.”
None of the teams left in the competition will relish the possibility of a forthcoming meeting with Crumlin Star. The Larne-based side thumped six past Glentoran II to record the headline-grabbing score of the day.
Championship One leaders Dundela continue to strike fear into defences everywhere, and Downpatrick may have felt some relief that they only lost their encounter with Mark Snodden’s men by 3-0. Higher sides have certainly lost by more.
Derriaghy CC’s bubble was burst by Harland & Wolff Welders, who took a 3-0 victory from Seycon Park, while Ballyclare Comrades cruised to a 4-1 win away to Drumaness Mills, while Bangor scored a huge 5-0 win on their travels to 2010 winners Kilmore Rec.
*See our report on the other remaining Steel & Sons Cup fourth round fixture between Cliftonville Olympic and Knockbreda, and see our results and tables section for the rest of the weekend’s scores.
Belfast Telegraph Digital