Big test for Comrades in last four

Ballyclare Comrades boss, Eddie Hill.
Ballyclare Comrades boss, Eddie Hill.

Ballyclare Comrades face a massive challenge when they line out against Immaculata in the Steel and Sons Cup semi-final on Monday evening, writes George Brown.

The Mac have won several Amateur League league titles and cups, in addition to the County Antrim Junior Shield and the IFA Junior Cup. The reigning Division 1B champions also have a proven Steel and Sons Cup pedigree, having reached the semi-final last season.

Manager Kevin Lawlor has assembled a strong squad with Colm O’Riordan, John Boyce, James Haughey and Kevin McGovern among the key men for the Sky Blues.

Comrades manager Eddie Hill is under no illusions about the task ahead.

“This will be our toughest challenge to date; even harder than when we played Glentoran in the League Cup,” he said. “If anyone thinks that we have got an easy draw against an Amateur League outfit, then they must think again.

“I think that the other teams would all have liked to avoid Immaculata, who have impressive credentials. They are likely to have a strong support, so I appeal to anyone in the Ballyclare area with even a casual interest in Ballyclare Comrades to come along and back the team.”

Asked about the likely line-up Hill added: “We have no injury or suspensions to worry about, and Jonny McClurg might come in to the equation.

“He has been coaching and training in America for the past few months, so he should be fit, but we’ll wait to see what shape he is in before making a decision on that one.”