Olympic make bid for Border Cup semi-final

Olympic make bid for Border Cup semi-final

6 November 2019

BALLYNAHINCH Olympic are hoping lightning does strike twice as they step up their bid to reach the Border Cup final for the second year in succession.

Standing in their way of a semi-final berth are Division 1A hopefuls Dunmurry Rec, but Saturday’s opponents at Cedar playing fields are not expected to prevent Liam Sloan’s charges from moving on.

However, the Ashley Park side are no mugs and in Mark Magennis they have an up and coming manager who has set his sights in getting the Rec back into the top flight — as well as a place in the Border Cup final.

The former Harland and Wolff Welders and Comber Rec playmaker has Dunmurry sitting in third place behind leaders Grove United and second-placed Rosario, and they will most certainly give Olympic a run for their money.

Olympic have reached the quarter-finals with wins over Holywood (5-3), Bloomfield (4-2) and Dromara Village (3-1), while Dunmurry have accounted for Orangefield (4-0), a strongly fancied Larne Tech (1-0) and a feared Greenisland (2-0) 

Olympic supremo Liam Sloan has shrewdly added to his Olympic squad this year and despite losing the talismanic Niall Murray to Crumlin Star, he has brought Stefan Mason back from Drumaness Mills and added former Ballynahinch United and Saintfield United utility man Paul Dickson to his panel. 

Sloan has also snapped up classy box to box midfielder Anton McGrattan from Kilmore Rec.

Mason has joined the prolific Nathan Jones and the vastly under-rated Chris McNamara in a lethal three-pronged attack. All three come alive in the box, but all three have a good work ethic and are not afraid to put a hard shift in.

Brothers Stevie and Ryan Noade continue to rule the roost in midfield alongside either McGrattan, Connor Reid or James McClean with Ryan Molloy and Shane Murray flanking them. 

This unit love nothing better than pushing forward, but also accept their defensive duties with relish. 

A mixture of Jason Noade, Paul Dickson, Aaron McClean, Steven McGoran and the highly-rated Dalton Tate will be vying for starting places in defence — with a host of young players also available to Sloan if required.

There is no doubt that Ryan Walsh, the Amateur League representative ‘keeper, will start between the posts and he will have to be at his best as Dunmurry possess a few deadly hit men.

They don’t come any better than Andrew Dummigan, who has been hammering in goals all season long for Magennis’ men.

He will be aided and abetted by Mark Tweedie, Ryan Kelly, ‘keeper Stephen Cairnduff and Torrin Kerr as the Rec bid to recapture their glory years.

Meanwhile, Rathfriland Rangers entertain Crumlin United as they also bid to reach the last four.

Aaron Black’s side last won the competition three years ago when they beat Downpatrick FC in a showdown remembered for the quality of the goals.

Rathfriland, who are also in the semi-final of the Bob Radcliffe Cup, have a seriously strong squad with Ballynahinch’s Andrew Kilmartin running the show from a central position.

He has Downpatrick’s Peter Telford and wing wonder Ruairi Fitzpatrick to rely upon for support with Newcastle’s Jonathan Scannell also in the mix.

Rostrevor GAA ‘keeper Jonathan Parr will be between the sticks and he has the immense Darryl Evans as the mainstay of the defence in front of him.

Up front both Marty Havern and Jonny Roy have played at Irish League level and the Iveagh Park side will take some stopping. 

The remaining ties see Shankill United, who beat holders Crumlin Star in the previous round, entertain neighbours Albert Foundry and Islandmagee at home to East Belfast.