WHILE insisting his team remain underdogs, Adam Lecky agrees Ballymena United have more of a chance against derby rivals Coleraine in Monday’s Irish Cup semi-final than they would have had had the sides met pre-lockdown.
When the coronavirus pandemic brought all football to a shuddering halt Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders were second in the Premiership hot on the heels of leaders Linfield while Ballymena, in stark contrast, were hovering above the drop zone having won just seven of their 31 games.
Mind you there were a number of obvious reasons for that and chief among those was the fact that David Jeffrey’s team had been decimated by injuries.
The previous season the Braidmen and Lecky were flying high and pushed Linfield all the way before having to settle for runners-up spot. They followed that up with an impressive showing in Europe, however, on the domestic front the 2019-20 season has been one to forget.
The decision by the Irish Football Association to complete the Sadler’s Peaky Blinders Irish Cup has however offered United a shot at redemption and the opportunity to not only capture major silverware but to secure a potential money-spinning place in Europe.
Lecky agrees that his team have been given something of a second chance.
“This season has been one of frustration for me personally and my team-mates can say the same,” said the Castlederg man.
“After a fantastic season and doing well in Europe we were expecting to kick on but we were derailed by a lot on injuries early on. Most weeks we had eight or nine players sitting in the stands and we were chopping and changing. The confidence and belief went, the style of play went and the harder we tried the worse it seemed to get.
“It was a season that just never got going compared to all the highs and memories we had in the previous one.
“Lockdown probably came at a good time for us because, including that European campaign, we didn’t have much of a break.
“That said we still have a semi-final to look forward to and we are just two games away from winning silverware.”
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