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Kilkeel on mission to break their Kirk Cup duck



Clear aim: Gareth Russell

Clear aim: Gareth Russell

Clear aim: Gareth Russell

Kilkeel coach Brian Niblock is hoping his players don't freeze when they line out in Boxing Day's Kirk Cup final against Mossley at Stormont (3pm).

The Mournemen have never before experienced the special atmosphere at the festive showpiece, and Niblock and his co-coach Colin McConnell are anxious that they not only go out to enjoy the occasion, but that they'll maintain their unbeaten start to the domestic season by landing the trophy for the first time in almost 100 years of their history.

There's a nice balance of youth and experience and that might work in their favour as they take on a Mossley side that last won the trophy 34 years ago and finished on the losing side on five different occasions.

There's one thing about Kilkeel - they know how to score goals, and this wasn't better highlighted than on Tuesday evening when they crushed Portadown 8-2 in an Ulster Premier League clash.

Luke Russell and Eddie Agnew each scored twice, with the others coming from Mark Stevenson, Mark Henning, David Rae and William Annett.

David Finlay is another who consistently finds the net, so it seems we could have a high-scoring decider.

Skipper Gareth Russell said: "It's a fantastic achievement to reach the Kirk final and has given us a real lift going into a busy period of the season."

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Mossley signed experienced Irish international John Jackson for the Christmas period, and the 231-times capped ace is relishing the prospect of once again lining out for his home-town team.

But coach Ricky Lee has many others capable of being matchwinners, including Simon Todd, Jordan Robinson and Joel Cathcart.

"Those who were part of the team that lost 8-2 in the final two years ago are out to make amends for a poor showing on that particular day," said Lee.

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