STRABANE Athletic won’t be short on motivation for Saturday’s Tennents Irish Cup sixth round clash at Larne Tech OB.
Athletic reached the last 16 of the competition for the first time in theclub’s history by defeating Bluefin Sport Championship outfit Knockbreda 2-1.
Drawing fellow intermediate side Larne offers Athletic a realistic shot at reaching the quarter-finals and the possiblity of a lucrative tie against one of local football’s big-hitters.
Mind you outside of North Tyrone it seems few are tipping Eamon Curry’s boys to continue their historic cup journey.
“As usual we aren’t getting the credit we deserve,” said Curry.
“According to one newspaper article I read some guy Gigsy ‘is coming to get us!’.
“We were also referred to as ‘the team from Derry’ and someone was quoted talking about the possibility of getting a big pay day in the next round. That just shows a lack of respect.One national paper has featured Crumlin Star, Larne Tech OB but haven’t come near us!
“But then we shouldn’t be surprised. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest but I need to make sure that the boys don’t get too wired up by that sort of thing.”
While many may consider Strabane to be in bonus territory, there is no doubt how serious that Curry and his players are taking Saturday’s last-16 clash.
Liam McMenamin(injury) and Alex Carolan (concussion) haven’t play since that magnificent victory over ‘Breda while in a recent Intermediate Cup game against Lurgan Celtic Curry travelled with a team made up exclusively of reserve and youth team players.
The decision to rest the full first team squad on that occasion was two fold. Curry identified that tie as the one most likely to attract a Larne Tech spying mission and if this indeed was the case then it may well have proved something of a wasted journey.
Curry, meanwhile, has had Strabane’s opponents watched on three different occasions and believes his players will be well armed with a game plan to succeed.
“We now know how they play, and who their dangermen are. Apparently they have a striker who has scored 40 goals in 16 games or something.
“That begs the question what is the quality of opposition like? And, secondly, if he is that good why is he playing in this league?
“I have no doubt they will be well up for it. They are well organised and to be honest they will fancy taking us at home.
“But to get through to the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup is some incentive. Last week’s win over Magherafelt sets us up to have real rattle at them.
“Saturday brings together two evenly-matched sides. It could be a bit of a boxing match with the first goal all important. We’re certainly not fearing them.”