While today’s final is primarily about current holders City of Armagh and challengers Queen’s University battling it out over the Bank of Ireland Senior Cup, there is also added edge to the occasion.
Both have reached this point with a hefty amount of extra motivation to sign off the season with something shiny.
Armagh are bidding to secure the trophy for the fourth time in succession – albeit there was no competition last year – which would certainly be a rare achievement as no side has managed such a feat since the 1890s.
Indeed, the Palace Grounds club will also be hoping to crown the day with a double success as their seconds meet Clogher Valley in the Millar McCall Wylie Junior Cup final in the first part of a domestic double-header at Ravenhill with this shootout kicking off at 1pm prior to the Senior Cup final beginning at 3.30pm.
As for the Students, they badly want something to show for a campaign which saw them miss out on AIL promotion, despite winning their league with plenty to spare, after surprisingly stumbling at home to Buccaneers in the Division 2A play-off final.
Having ripped through their AIL regulation season by only losing three times in 18 games, Queen’s carry considerable baggage to this showpiece encounter and a burning desire to win a trophy after also missing out on the Ulster Senior League title.
“It is hard to get away from what happened in the AIL play-off final and there is an opportunity for us to park it in this final,” said Queen’s skipper David Whitten.
“To win the (AIL) league by 14 points and yet we don’t get promoted seems a bit strange, but this now does give us a chance to respond,” added Whitten, who was recently named Division 2A Player of the Year.
As for Armagh, head coach Chris Parker is determined to reclaim the cup and finish off a campaign which failed to really ignite in terms of AIL form.
“It certainly would be something very special,” he said of the possibility of a fourth straight cup victory. “And especially so for the handful of guys will have played across all four finals.
“It is going to be hard, though, and you could look at this as the most difficult of the four finals as it’s against one of the most in-form teams in the country, taking away their AIL play-off final result.
“Winning will be special but it’s going to take a massive effort to get there and, of course, it would be even more special if we could win two trophies on the day.”