Reaction to Irish Cup Draw

Posted : 8th December 2015

Manager David Healy and full back Matthew Clarke gave their reaction to today's Irish Cup draw.

David was in no doubt that Ballymena United would present a tough challenge in what is the pick of the fifth round ties.

"It's a tough draw for us but if you want to win the cup then you have to face the top sides at some stage. Ballymena have a good side and they are of course managed by Glenn Ferguson who we all know very well. It's a game that I will definitely look forward to but we have other challenges to face before then."

The two sides clash in the league at Ballymena Showgrounds before the Irish Cup tie but the manager doesn't think that the game will have any bearing on the outcome of the cup tie.

"Cup games are obviously one off ties and you might take a slightly different approach. We are at home with the crowd behind us so the onus is on us to take the game to Ballymena. We have to be ready, be firing on all cylinders and hopefully that takes us into the next round."

The manager is aware of United's pedigree as a cup team and of the fact that they knocked Linfield out of the Irish Cup at the sixth round stage in 2014.

"I know they have performed well in cup competitions and they have already reached the final of the County Antrim a Shield this season. But we will be ready for it and the cup is a big priority for us this season."

Defender Matthew Clarke also gave his reaction to the draw and recalled the last time the teams met on the opening day of the 2015/16 season when Linfield won convincingly by 4-0.

"We were maybe hoping for a better draw but it's a home tie and we played them earlier in the season at Windsor and won very well. We played some very attractive football that day and we should be confident playing anyone at home."

Matthew reflected on what has been a difficult month of defeats for the team which was broken by the 1-0 win against Coleraine on Saturday.

"It has been difficult but Saturday was a massive result for everyone at the club, players, manager and staff. We just needed that win to get us going and we have to look forward now to a busy festive period when we hope to get a winning run going. "

For the talented defender, all competitions remain a priority for the club this season.

"The Irish Cup is huge for us this season but I wouldn't rule us out of the league as we believe we can claw back ground on other teams. We need a few results to go our way and to put pressure on the teams above us. Crusaders will have other teams chasing them now and we need to see how they react to that pressure."
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