Knockmenagh to face derby rivals in cup final

Gareth Hoey.
Gareth Hoey.
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The traditional pattern for cup final previews follows a familiar path of mutual respect and talk of how tight both camps expect the silverware showdown based on previous meetings.

In keeping with that theme, Lurgan United sit as one of only two sides to have prevented Knockmenagh Swifts from picking up maximum Mid-Ulster League Division Three points this season.

However, a glance back at results blows apart the theory of a slender margin of victory.

The Swifts cruised past United last September with a 6-2 success on home soil. With United - bolstered by a successful transfer period - gaining revenge on a 5-1 tally in January’s return fixture.

Gareth Hoey, the Swifts manager, accepts the two league games cannot offer an expert analysis into what to expect tonight (Friday) at Lurgan Celtic’s Knockramer Park in the Beckett Cup final.

“In terms of form, it is going to be just about the cup final,” said Hoey. “The league games have been high-scoring affairs, with United quite physical and our squad maybe full of smaller players.

“We anticipate a good crowd and cracking atmosphere for what is a derby final.

“We may have a few key players out but confidence has been boosted by a good recent win.

“Our only previous cup final since the club’s formation a few years ago came as a Lonsdale League side.

“We won that trophy so it would be great to maintain our record in finals.

“Although I really rate United as a team.”

Kick-off will be 6.30, with admission £6 (adults) and £3 (concession).