SION Swifts Ladies U15 team will need no added motivation when they lock horns with Linfield in the final of the South Belfast Cup at Solitude on Sunday.
Swifts brushed aside Glentoran 3-0 in the semi-final while Linfield were 2-1 winners over Cliftonville.
However coverage of those last-four ties and build-up has very much centred on the young Blues with Sion getting nothing more than a passing mention.
That will no doubt have sharpened the focus of joint managers Paul Connolly and Tony McGinley and their players ahead of Sunday’s winner-takes-all showdown.
Club official Tommy Canning, while acknowledging that Linfield may start as slight favourites, believes the North Tyrone girls are in with a real chance.
“It’s going to be a hard one to call,” said the former Tyrone Milk Cup manager.
“There’s definitely no outstanding favourite. Earlier in the season Sion defeated Linfield 3-2 in a league game and only finished second to them on goal difference.
“The first thing that has to be remembered is that it is a great achievement to get there in the first place, given it’s their first season competing at this level..
“Among other things it has further lifted the profile of the club. It also shows that we have good structures in place and excellent back-up for our senior set-up.
“At this age group anything can happen in finals sometimes. It can go either way and it’s very much about on the day. I definitely believe we are in with a shout, it is genuinely hard to call.”
Sion qualified for the final by finishing runners-up to Linfield in their league group before a stunning hat-trick by Teegan Lynch helped the North Tyrone girls to a convincing 3-0 victory over the Glens.
Attacking midfelder Lynch and striker Cora Chambers are members of the Northern Ireland elite programme and they will be looking to exploit a less than convincing Blues defence. Chloe Laird is another to catch the eye this season and the centre-back will no doubt play a key role in Sunday’s showpiece.
Ultimately though success will depend on the collective contribution of the team as the Sion girls again look to write their name in the history books.
“To all intents and purposes this is a national league competition,” added Canning.
“Sion is the only team outside Belfast participating in the league so that gives you an idea how big an achievement it is getting this far.”
The ex-Dergview boss agreed that finishing the job on Sunday would be the proverbial icing on the cake.