Fairytale final for Fermanagh men but Crues aim to take down the Mallards in full flight

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Tennent's Irish Cup captains Colin Coates and Richard Clarke. Pic: IFA.

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The stage is set for a fascinating Tennent's Irish Cup final at Windsor Park on Saturday (2.30pm).

The Premiership stars of Crusaders will go head-to-head with first time finalists Ballinamallard of the Irish League's second tier, the Championship.

The north Belfast side are hot favourites but both clubs expect it to be much closer than many are predicting. 

Crusaders - aiming to lift the trophy for the first time since 2009 - have accounted for Linfield, Glentoran, Ballymena and holders Coleraine in their impressive run to the final. 

But captain Colin Coates has this response to claims their name is destined to be "on the trophy" as 2019 winners...


Crues captain Colin Coates and boss Stephen Baxter expect tough test. 

Ducks skipper Richard Clarke is set to face his former club.

Before his successful stint at Seaview, he was a cup winner with Glentoran, despite being sent off in the closing stages of the decider with Cliftonville in 2013.

The year before that he was a member of the Glens team that crashed to an infamous cup defeat against Amateur League Newington at the Oval.

Clarke claims a Mallards win this time would be up there with the biggest shocks of all time...

Ballinamallard beat Premiership sides Dungannon and Warrenpoint on penalties en route to the final. 

Manager Harry McConkey - the long-time boss of the Northern Ireland junior international team - is daring to dream one more time and says the mood music is upbeat at Ferney Park...



The weekend football kicks off on Friday night with the first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off as Carrick host Ards.

Derry City go to defending champions Dundalk in the League of Ireland.

Both games start at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, midfielder/striker Declan Carville has left Newry City to join Ballymena United on a two-year contract. 















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