Most followers of the South Antrim League would go for a Taughmonagh YM win in the Ironside Cup final on Boxing Day against South Antrim at Stanley Park, 11am kick-off.
But, I do not believe it is as clear cut as many think for South Antrim won the blue riband trophy of the League, the Ironside Cup back in the 2009-10 season and they did it against the odds.
Braniel YM were strong favourites in that final but South in the end were deserved winners and surely this will give them a boost for their second appearance in a Boxing Day final.
But, Taughmonagh have had good runs in IFA and County Antrim junior competitions, which has meant their League progress has suffered as they fall behind on games played.
They will start as most people’s favourites but they are unlikely to take the opposition lightly and will be geared up to be at their best on the occasion.
South, on the other hand, have all to gain and nothing to lose, so they will give it a real go.
It should be an intriguing final.
How The Teams Will Line-Up
The manager’s give their thoughts on the men who will turn out in the Cup final.
William Cahoon. One of the old brigade, still one on the best keepers around,loves a moan
Barry Lavery. Club is lucky to have two top class keepers, he’s pushing Willy all the way
Stephen Hislop. Young defender is a class act, tells me he’s the best looking player in the team
Robert Brown. Goose has been there done it, and talked all the way through it, a rock at the back
Glenn Bingham. Must be over 50 now, great to have around the squad but the young ones are fed up listening about past glories
Gareth Hindes. Our jack of all trades master of none, can play anywhere in defence or midfield
Matthew McKinstry. Chew is an excellent leader at the back talks other boys through it, but by far the longest in the shower
Dylan Cahoon. Unlucky boy not to have played more for the first team this year, but still young, his time will come
Alan McCluskey. Sewers as he is known is a solid defender and never let’s the team down
Paul Donaldson. Captain, leader, legend, or so he keeps telling me, makes the whole team tick, missed a few games this season after a hair operation
Sammy Williamson. Another young lad who has been first class this year, keeps telling me he can’t wait to grow up
Lee Keag. Great with the ball at his feet, but don’t ask him to run as he can’t
James Bell. Never trust a man with a pony tail, but has never let the team down when called upon
Barry Bloomer. Has had more clubs than Tiger Woods and Rory mac put together but still a class apart at any level of football
Paul Hill. Always seems to score in big games, pace to burn but like a bobsleigh he has no brakes
Jay Nicholson. If Jay was any more laid back he would fall over, a powerful shot and great trickery
Curtis Moorehead. Managers pet, never off the phone to me, my wife is getting worried, a real match winner on his day
Robbie Hoy. Everything I was told I would get from Robbie. I have got the opposite, work rate attitude and goals has been outstanding.
South Antrim FC
Dominic Heron. GK, former Hillsborough Boys keeper, matured really well this season, great shot stopper as well as becoming smart between the posts.
Peter Boyland. RB, the “quiet giant” goes about doing what he has to do with no frills!
Chris Howes CB, the “bull terrier” maybe small but definitely has the biggest bite!
Dan Diamond CB, Called “reliable Dan” for a reason, one of the old school gets the job done. Last season’s players player of the year.
Micheal Kane LB, Found his way this year, took on board to improve fitness and came back like Capt America! Far better player for it.
Daniel Collins LB, Brought in this year firstly as a GK but found his talent was outfield instead, passionate player and always gives 100%
Kevin Floyd LM, the little “ginga ninga,” great talent and always eager to please, always wants the ball and complains when he doesn’t get it which is great.
Justin Skates CM, “chicken head” never gives up always battles to the end last season’s young player of the year has a great never say die attitude!
Stephen McNeice CM, called “Mr South Antrim” the club capt lives and breathes South Antrim FC. Had many a chance to forward his football but stands by a club he believes is going in right direction.
Aaron Brady CM, Aaron is a very smart player, having a good football head means he makes the right choices easy and early to improve his good performances.
Karl McCartney RM, brought in late to the season, our baby of the bunch is improving game after game, the toughness on such a young head and willing to listen and learn he will definitely be future S. Antrim.
Nathan Norwood CF, “Norsy” is our little speed demon! On his day he’s unstoppable and great left and right foot so hard to handle.
Ronan Maguire CF, Enormous talent has wonder close control, always wants to beat and tackle the whole opposition, super dead ball specialist!
Francis McCrudden CF, again brought in this year, brilliant natural finisher and football brain, made a definite difference for squad this year, just what we needed.
Shane Matthews Assistant manager, Shane badly damaged his knee during season and Downesy decided to make him his assistant, not only having a good knowlege about football, being one of the old school his man management has been crucial in getting what Downesy wants each Saturday.
Darren Downes, manager, first year in charge and already reaching a final, his no nonsense attitude and amateur league background is holding him in good stead. Experience and knowlege has definitely helped the progress of South Antrim.
Three others who have played, but not in panel:
Paddy O’Kane, one of the old school, always wears his South Antrim heart on his sleeve.
James Downes, brought in to strengthen defence, no nonsense, no frills player.
Michael Brady, filled in as goalkeeper in earlier rounds, always does a good job and appreciated by squad.