The Steel & Sons Cup Final on Christmas morning has caused many a domestic row over the years – but Ards boss Niall Currie is turning the festive showdown into a family day out.
Ards are preparing to meet Glentoran Seconds in the showpiece decider at Seaview (10.45am).
It is another mouth-watering clash for both teams involved, not least Ards boss Currie.
“I think I’ll stay out of trouble – as long as I make it home eventually!” the Portadown-based postman quipped.
“It’s actually going to be a big family day for me. My young daughter Lauren helps out with the warm-up and my mum and dad go to every match. My wife Julie is going with her family, so hopefully it will be a great day.
“I want it to be a proud day for them and a proud day for everyone associated with Ards Football Club – the players, the fans, the directors. We’ve a lot of respect for Glentoran Seconds, but we’ve just got to concentrate on our game and play it like it’s just another match.”
Despite being from Mid-Ulster, Niall Currie is no stranger to the Steel and Sons Cup.
The former goalkeeper Currie kept a clean-sheet in the final as a 22-year-old, when Bangor Reserves beat Linfield Swifts 1-0.
Currie said: “I’ve managed and played in lots of finals, including the Bob Radcliffe final which is the equivalent of the Steel and Sons Cup final down our way.
“I also won the Steel in 1994 – so I know what this trophy is all about and how much it means. But this final isn’t about me – football is about footballers and we can only live our dreams through them.
“The majority of our players are from the Belfast area so this trophy is massive thing for them. They’ve had to dig deep to win this trophy – we came from 2-0 down against Carrick Rangers and won in extra-time against Immaculata, so we’re here on merit.”
Ards’ opponents on Christmas morning are Spike Hill’s Glentoran Seconds.
While Ards are the bookies’ favourites, former Loughgall boss Currie will not be taking the Reserve League side lightly.
“It’s hard to scout a reserve team as by their very nature their line-up changes from week to week, with guys moving up and down from the first team,” he added.
“But I’ve the utmost respect for Spike Hill and Glentoran Seconds.
“We’ve had them watched a few times and we’ve seen the video of the semi-final, so we know they’re a tough team, with plenty of talented players.”