The Peace Cup arose from the tragic bomb in Warrington in which two young boys, Tim Parry and Jonathan Ball, lost their lives over 20 years ago.
Crewe were the first group to visit Warrington after the explosion to pay respects to those killed and injured and the relationship since then has grown and strengthened as a symbol of hope from what was a very dark time during the Troubles.
Since the fixture’s inauguration six years ago, Crewe had not won the trophy outright until last year when the much improved Glenavy side produced a superb performance at Crewe Park, wining 3-2 to ensure the trophy stayed in Northern Ireland.
This was all the more impressive against the backdrop of Warringtown just completing a fantastic season that included an FA Cup defeat of Exeter City from League One to reach the second round.
Crewe will however have an even bigger task this time out as Warrington comfortably won the Evo-Stick League First Division North last season, which put them only one Division away from the English National League.
Crewe, meanwhile, had a progressive season in the Mid-Ulster League last season finishing fifth and, under continued management from Manager Colin Telford and Assistant Nicky Maye, they are confident that they can go close to bringing the Peace Cup back to Lisburn.
“This match will be very difficult,” says Club Chairman Tom McKenna, “They are a semi-professional club so on paper the task might seem impossible but the lads are determined to give it their best shot.”
Crewe’s pre-season games have included a win over Derriaghy CC and a draw with Lisburn Rangers. Manager Telford is confident that his team will give a good account of themselves.
“We are looking forward to the new season and have added quality to our squad in the close season,” he said. “This is a great fixture which not only cements the relationship between Lisburn and Warrington that has been sustained since the tragedy in 1993 but gives us a stern challenge and a good base to work from for the season ahead.”
Club Chairman Tom McKenna agreed: “It’s been over 20 years since that sad occasion. Our Club has always sought to develop the relationship between the City of Lisburn and the town of Warrington and we have been inspired by our Council who have been with us all the way. It would have been very difficult without their interest and we are grateful thanks to Council Staff and all our Councillors who have been so kind and supportive in all our efforts”.
The Peace Cup weekend kicks off on Friday morning with the launch of the club’s new kit for the season ahead. Crewe have also taken the novel step of using their new kit to promote a local Chairty, VOYPIC (Voice of Young People In Care).
Crewe Chairman, Tom McKenna said the club was delighted to be backing such a worthwhile charity, “VOYPIC is a great Charity who work to change the lives of young people in Northern Ireland and we are delighted to carry their logo on our kit this year to promote what they do and encourage people to get involved with them by giving of their time or by way of assisting them financially. The work they do is second to none in this sector and give young people a chance to rebuild their lives and grow as people. Hopefully we can raise the awareness of the good things they are doing.”
Crewe are also continuing their Partnership with main sponsors Maldron Hotel, Belfast, Fairstone NI and new sponsor My Nutrition Pal.