IRONSIDE Cup specialists, Sporting Lisburn and South Antrim League leaders, Glaston, clash in an intriguing Ironside Cup final on Boxing Day at Stanley Park, kick-off 11.30 a.m.
It promises to be an absorbing game with Sporting, having lost in the final last year and won it in the previous year, certainly not lacking in experience for this biggest final in the South Antrim League calendar.
But, while Sporting have been inconsistent in the League Glaston have only dropped two points to date - a draw with Braniel YM. If the team with more experience of Boxing Day finals can use this to their advantage and for this reason they may just start as favourites, though Glaston are the “form team’’.
Glaston, who are in their fourth season in the League, beat Sporting in the Gordon Hanna Trophy final in 2011, though only six of that successful team remain. Glaston also won the Supplementary Plate in their first South Antrim season.
Both sides have several match winners, but when it comes to goalscoring Grahame Phillips will be Sporting’s big threat, while Glaston will hope Sean Armstrong continues his scoring form to date this season.
A large crowd is expected, as usual, at the big game and they should be entertained to the full.
PANELS FOR THE FINAL
Chris McIlhone- played for Donegal Celtic Youth and though one of two goalkeepers can also play centre-forward
Chris McKenna- the second goalkeeper who formerly played for University of Ulster Coleraine and was with Finaghy Utd last season
Dessie Hall- has played for the club since Belfast and District League days, was in the Gordon Hanna Trophy winning team
Richard McLaughlin- with the club for six years, one of the most dependable full backs in the League, weighs in with the odd goal
Paul O’Hare- club captain, previously played for Carrick Rangers, a great leader on and off the pitch
Liam Halliday- last season’s player of the year, very reliable at either centre forward or centre back
Eamon Matthews- first year at club, can play full back or centre half
Joe Elliman- first year at the club, played for Sport and Leisure, had an early season injury but now competing for a place
Tommy McNeill- former Glentoran Youth player, now ten years with the club, a reliable player
Connor McKernan- formerly with Cliftonville, having an outstanding season after battle with injury for the previous two seasons
Paddy Macklin- five years at the club, always a danger up front, first to arrive for training sessions
Stephen Connolly- signed during the summer from Glenavon, a 18-year-old who is always dangerous from a dead ball
Alan McDonald- midfielder or striker, a potential match winner, scored a hat-trick in the semi-final
Sean Armstrong- played in the Irish League and League of Ireland, has three Irish Cup medals, but is still very keen to add an Ironside Cup medal to his collection
Jim Mullan- 19-year-old former Lisburn Youth player, scored both goals for St Columb’s in a 2-1 win in the Schools Cup final
Paul McCann- a striker who has been the club’s leading goalscorer on five occasions.
Stephen White- 28, commanding goalkeeper with excellent reflexes. A great servant to club
Lewis Irwin- 19, young defender in his first season with club, eager to impress and a threat going forward
Darren Henning-25, tough tackling defender who drives the team on, always gives 100% and is an important member of team
Davy Flanagan- 24, attacking fullback, a busy and consistent performer who never let’s the club down. Another great servant to the club
Simon Walsh-24, experienced defender with great strength and pace who loves a challenge, likes to get forward and support, a threat at set pieces
Chris Hull-28, club captain, ‘floyd’ makes defending look easy, cool, calm no nonsense defender and great reader of game, has played senior level for Loughgall
Jonny Bushe-25, first season at club, box to box midfielder who is strong in the air and tackle, runs all day and always in the thick of things
Ashley Parker-25, midfielder with great vision, loves to get on the ball and create, reliable member of team
Andy Ginn-22, midfielder with great engine who goes about his business quietly and effectively
Craig Armstrong-27, cool midfielder and another consistent performer, breaks down opponents’ attacks and never wastes a pass
Matty Patton-27, experienced midfielder who covers a lot of ground and works tirelessly for team, in second spell at club
Graham Stitt-29, dead ball specialist, in second season at club, loves to run at defenders and a threat from wing
James Campbell-25, nippy winger who is every defender’s nightmare, great dribbler who creates a lot of chances for team and has an eye for goal
Stuart Knight-28, midfielder/striker brings pace and power, gives team a different dimension and always puts in a shift
Jason Hamilton-27,quick striker who always works hard for team and shows great composure in front of goal, all time leading goalscorer for club
Neil Donaghy-22, very skilful forward with bags of pace, always shows good movement off ball, great left foot and can also finish
Grahame Phillips-28, also in second spell at club after stints at Ballymacash and Loughall, big centre forward who thrives on the big games, quick strong and powerful player who leads the line well and is clinical in front of goal.