Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Maiden City's young stars can prove their class against Crusaders: Semple

By Gareth Hanna

A senior side less than two years old is set to play the current top team in Northern Ireland at Seaview tomorrow afternoon.

But Maiden City captain Ryan Semple is determined not to let the three-division gap show when his side take on Crusaders (kick-off 3pm).

The ex Linfield player knows his experience, along with that of fellow former Institute stars Darren McCready and Aaron Walsh, will have to show if the NI Intermediate League side are to get close to their Premiership-leading opponents.

But he reckons the younger players in the squad can provide the key to unlocking Crusaders and is excited for one of the biggest day in the north west club's short history. The senior side was only added to the academy in 2016 but they've already won their first trophy, the Craig West Memorial Cup, on Boxing Day.

"If you're going to get one of the Premiership teams, you're looking for a team in the top four," he said.

"It's a one off game and we'll give it all we've got. We've worked very hard over the last four games to get this far so we won't let it pass us by. We'll go out and enjoy the occasion.

"They probably know a few of our players, we have a few experienced players who have played in the Irish League but they don't really know anything about us. We'll be unknown to them but we see them week in, week out on TV and we know their players. We'll work hard and give it a shot.

"We have a lot of young players coming through who I believe could go on to play in the Premiership. It's a good window for them to prove a point."

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