IRISH LEAGUE: Limavady aiming for three in a row
It's another trip to Fortwilliam Park for Limavady United as they defend the Craig Memorial Cup, when they face Ardstraw on Boxing Day (KO 11.30am).
Having defeated Institute in last season’s showpiece finale, the Roesiders are looking to make it three wins in a row after they defeated Ardstraw back in the 2014/15 season through a solitary goal from Bryan McClelland.
Ardstraw ply their trade in the Northern Ireland Intermediate League along with the likes of Trojans, Ballymoney United and Portstewart.
They are managed by a former Roesiders youth player, Gary Simpson, who has been in charge for a few years now.
Early in the season they won their League Cup group, winning two of their three round robin games.
In the league they are currently third, however they are just one point behind league leaders Portstewart.
Hopefully there won’t be another fiasco like last season when both teams and supporters arrived at the ground only for the game to be abandoned before a ball was kicked. In truth the game should have been called off well in advance of this.
Ahead of the fixture, United manager Paul Owens is looking forward to another chance to win a trophy.
“With our league campaign being so stop-start this year I didn’t want the players to lose any focus for those games,” he said.
“We had made sure that the players got the message because we couldn’t afford to have eyes off the ball.
“However we got the Newington game out of the way last weekend so it’s now all eyes on the final.
“It’s a chance to win a trophy so it’s a game that we will go all out to make sure we get what we want.”
With his side being short on numbers in recent weeks, Owens is hoping to have a few more players to chose from.
“We will have Joe (McCloskey) back for this one; to be honest we have missed him in recent weeks,” he added.
“He was in great form and when you take away that quality then of course you are going to miss it a bit.
“The subs at the weekend came on and did well too so it’s giving me a bit of a selection headache.
“That’s a headache I don’t mind having though and whilst I won’t be available I’m not too worried.
“It’s all about the team and making sure that they are doing well, if I’m able to do that then I’m happy
“As long as we keep winning games then I’ll not be worried about playing myself although it’ll be a few more weeks anyway” he ended.
Joe McCloskey will return for this game and Connor McCloskey should be available after going off early in the Newington game.
Meanwhile United have signed Jordan Thompson and Conor Logue, both will be available from the New Year, much to Owens’ delight.
“Jordan Thompson has been training with us for about a month now and we have signed him from Foyle Wanderers,” the United boss added.
“He’s been really impressive in training with some of his finishing amazing us and we just had to stand back and applaud.
“Conor Logue has almost joined the club; in fact I tried to get him a year ago when he left Coleraine.
“He’s a player that I worked with for about five or six years ago when I was looking after the youths.
“I know Oran Kearney had a good word on him too plus he a young local player that we are bringing in.
“We have seen the impact that Connor McCloskey in now making and hopefully Conor Logue can do the same.”