Football: Moyola park to bridge 1881 gap in irish cup?

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No-one can ever deny Moyola Park their proud place in Irish Cup history, because that is forever assured since they became the first winners of the competition one hundred and thirty four years ago as they defeated Cliftonville by scoring the only goal in the final.

But it’s a safe bet to say that nobody around Castledawson is preparing the trophy cabinet at the Mill Meadow ground for the return of the most coveted cup in local football.

And, whilst rightly relishing the challenge confronting his team this year, the manager certainly doesn’t harbour any lofty ambitions of the ultimate glory. Indeed, Mervyn Pattison would be justifiably thrilled if they can even cause a major upset this Saturday.

Irish League side Dungannon played Crusaders live on Sky on Monday night and event that is a measure of the gulf between the Tyrone team and their Championship Two hosts as Swifts come to town on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

“It’s a big occasion for our club as it gives our players the opportunity to test themselves against one of the best teams in the country” said Pattison, whose team suffered penalty-kicks disappointment as they prepared for the big match with a Craig Cup Final against Coleraine Reserves.

But the bitter memories of that defeat will be no more, if they can shock Darren Murphy’s team, winners over the mighty Linfield in November.

“It’s a massive ask for us to beat Dungannon Swifts. But, if they have an off-day and we play to the best of our ability, who knows what might happen?” says the manager, showing commendable optimism.