Final countdown: Stage set for unique occasion in battle for cup and Europe

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Preparations continue for Glentoran and Ballymena United ahead of the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup final at Windsor Park on Friday night (8pm).

Not only is one of the two major trophies of the local game at stake, but also a lucrative place in the Europa League qualifiers. 

It's set to be a unique occasion in the history of the famous old competition - the first game played in front of spectators in the UK since March.

Matches so far have been held behind closed doors, including the cup semi-finals on Monday. The Glens beat Cliftonville and Ballymena knocked out Coleraine - both after penalty shoot-outs. 

The crowd will be restricted to 500 with both clubs allocated 250 tickets. 

Glentoran are distributing theirs free of charge to players’ families, club vice-presidents, life members, life season-ticket holders and volunteers. The remaining tickets went into a raffle among season ticket holders.

Ballymena decided to draw a ballot from season ticket holders, match-day staff and volunteers.

Fans will be assigned seats behind the goals with the Sky Blues confirming their contingent will be in the Railway Stand.

The IFA will employ extra stewards and supporters will have their temperature checked before entry - and fans are being encouraged to wear face coverings. 

The winners of the 2019-20 Irish Cup will be decided almost a year after the competition started with lower league teams playing in the first round on 17 August 2019.

Ballymena United: 



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