INTERMEDIATE CUP: Hanover hoping to add another highlight to dream run

Hanover's Shane McKinney (left) and Ards Rangers' Glen Upton at the Ladbrokes-sponsored Intermediate Cup quarter-final draw. Pic by PressEye Ltd.
Hanover's Shane McKinney (left) and Ards Rangers' Glen Upton at the Ladbrokes-sponsored Intermediate Cup quarter-final draw. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

By measure of stature and silverware, Hanover enjoy status as one of the leading names in the Mid-Ulster Football League.

However, the Brownstown Park club will step into a rare spotlight on Saturday when the first whistle at 1.30 signals fresh ground even for a club with the storied history of Hanover.

Ards Rangers arrive in town as Northern Amateur Football League representatives aiming to come out on top in a clash between the two lowest-ranked clubs left in the Intermediate Cup.

Manager Steven Hyndes stands alone within the Hanover club as having held aloft the Intermediate Cup thanks to his 2005 success at Glenavon.

The former Irish League player enjoyed past glory days on the pitch with clubs such as Armagh City, Glenavon, Crusaders and Loughgall - with that big-game experience key to what he considers a landmark fixture in his career as Hanover manager.

“I played for Hanover for around three years and then joined Bill Richardson on the coaching team before taking up the first-team job,” said Hyndes. “Since working with Dean Crowe and Glenn McCullough across the past few seasons this will certainly be the biggest game of my time at the club.

“Over 100 clubs join the Intermediate Cup each season and we stand one win away from the final four, so it is certainly a big match.

“Hanover have won trophies in the past and that is obviously the main way to judge success.

“Even if we get a win on Saturday there is no trophy at the final whistle so I do not want to compare to achievements in the past or anything but when you look at the standing of the competition it is great to see Hanover share in that profile.”

Hyndes will be aiming to utilise his personal past experience to aid team preparations on Saturday.

“We have had Ards Rangers watched and we also went to a game to take that information into training,” said Hyndes. “We will obviously prepare in a different way compared to most Mid-Ulster fixtures as we know less about Rangers and also want to have everyone ready in terms of the set-up.

“But on Saturday we do not want to disrupt our normal routine too much as I always found as a player before a big Irish Cup game or something the change to that schedule did not help.

“We want the lads to focus, eat and arrive at the same time as any other game but with the benefit of the extra work and preparation behind us from during the week.

“We will need to be at 100 per cent and Ards have an off day.

“There is a gap between the Amateur League and Mid-Ulster clubs in many ways, such as how suited they would be to move up a level and become established at the next stage.

“But anything can happen in a one-off cup tie between 11 v 11.

“There should be a big crowd and I know other Mid-Ulster clubs have been very supportive leading up to the game, with some planning on calling down to Brownstown Park to back us.”