Long-suffering Lisburn Distillery supporters deserve to see their team take to the field in an end-of-season silverware showdown.
That’s according to club boss Tommy Kincaid, who is desperate to shepherd his side through Wednesday’s Intermediate Cup semi-final, where they take on high-flying Carrick Rangers at Ballyclare’s Dixon Park (kick-off 7.30pm).
Rangers have lost just once in their last five games and could certainly be considered Cup experts. They’ve already won the Steel and Sons Cup this season and knocked Premiership Institute out of the Irish Cup. They sent the Whites packing from the Steel and Sons back in September too.
This time out though, Kincaid and his charges have an added motivation to come out on top.
“It’s a massive game for us,” said the Distillery boss.
“It’s a great chance to get to a Cup final and I’d absolutely love to do it for the club. The board and the supporters have had a really tough time over the last few years. They’ve had a lot to put up with and it would be fantastic to give them a big day to look forward to at the end of the season. It’s been a long, hard season for them all. “As well as that, it would be a great experience for our players as well. Some of the lads wouldn’t have played in a final like that before.”
The Whites are yet to beat Carrick in three attempts this season, beaten twice and securing a draw in the other.
“None of the games are easy at this level,” said Kincaid. “That showed in our game at the weekend when we went in at half-time 3-0 down to the Welders and it could have been more. Our defending was attrocious but we rallied back.
“There are no easy games and this one will be no different against a very good Carrick side.
“In a Cup game, it’s all about the result, not the performance. I’d take any sort of a win, even on penalties.”
Carrick, of course, go into the game in the middle of some managerial upheaval. Boss Gary Haveron was forced to step down so that the club would be eligible for promotion. That’s because he doesn’t yet have his UEFA B License.
Nonetheless, he’s still part of new manager Glen Taggart’s coaching staff and is expected to officially take up the reigns again when he begins the licensing process next month.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Gary Haveron will still be calling the shots for Carrick next week,” said Kincaid. “It’s not really any of my business anyway. I have enough to worry about with Distillery!
Kincaid’s concerns will no doubt principally surround suspended trio Darren Nixon, Jimmy McIlhagga and Joe McDonnell.
He says he “hasn’t thought” about his team selection for Wednesday’s crunch game and his players will no doubt be keen to impress at Dergview on Saturday to ensure they earn a place in the line-up.