Support your local game

Banbridge Town chairman Andrew Cully has called on supporters to come out in force for Saturday’s much-awaited Irish Cup Fourth Round derby against Rathfriland Rangers.

The game at Crystal Park, kicking-off at 1.30pm, comes with the prize of a place in the Fifth Round draw alongside the Danske Bank Premiership teams and Cully wants football fans to give the local game a chance.

He said: “There’s such a local interest in this one and hopefully people will come out in numbers. It would be great to see a good crowd.

“People underestimate the local game. There’s a lot of local talent there and on Saturday, it’s a local game with local players on both sides so there’ll be that added spice.”

And as if this derby needed any more drama, it sees the return of former Town boss Brian Adair, who leads his Rathfriland troops back to his old stomping ground.

Cully, however, says that is not in the thinking of those involved in the game: “There’s nothing there to comment on. People will want to hype that up but it’s not like that at all. We’ll look forward to welcoming them to Crystal Park.

“The Irish Cup always provides a big interest, no matter what stage you enter. It’s always a privilege to take on a Premiership team so it’d be great to reach the Fifth Round.”

Town are on a good run of form and are fresh off the back of a stunning 7-0 victory away at Killymoon. However, Cully is expecting a tougher test this weekend.He said: “It’ll be a challenge. Ryan (Watson) will have our team well set up and they won’t be underestimating Rathfriland.

They have a lot of ex-Banbridge players in their squad and we’ve seen enough upsets over the years. I’m sure Liverpool didn’t go to Hull on Sunday with the attitude that they had the game already won. If you go into a game like that, you may as well not turn up. You underestimate another team at your peril.”

Town are currently perched in second spot in Championship Two, just two points off the league summit. Cully is understandably delighted but knows it’s only the beginning.

He said: “The management and players deserve a lot of credit for how things have gone so far but there are no trophies handed out in December. There’ll be a lot of twists and turns yet.”