Captain James Lavery insists Queen’s are going for glory

Ballymena defender Johnny Taylor and Queen's captain James Lavery
Ballymena defender Johnny Taylor and Queen's captain James Lavery

Experienced captain James Lavery insists Queen’s University won’t be “making up the numbers” in Saturday’s Irish Cup semi-finals.

The Championship 2 minnows are ranked massive underdogs to shock Ballymena United at the Oval.

Queen’s have been labelled also-rans in Saturday’s semis, but Lavery insists his side is relishing the showdown with Premiership opposition.

“We are not here to make up the numbers,” Lavery said.

“We are footballers like Ballymena, so we won’t treat it as a day out. We have pride and we want to reach the final.

“Nobody remembers the semi-finalists.

“The buzz has been great in the build-up to the semi-final. It has really put the club on the map.

“In work, or when you are out shopping, people mention the game. It is great and gives the players a real lift. It is a bonus for the players.

“But now we are here, we want to win and progress and go one further.”

Lavery admits when Queen’s embarked on their Irish Cup journey back in December they never expected to go so far in the competition.

But an opening win against Lurgan Celtic was followed by victories against Limavady United, Lisburn Distillery and Bangor – who they defeated 3-2 in the quarter-finals.

“We never thought we would reach the semi-final of the Irish Cup,” Lavery said.

“It is the competition where we are expected to do the least in.

“It is very unrealistic to even think of the latter stages of the Irish Cup. You don’t think about the last 32 or the last 16 or whatever. There are so many great clubs in it.

“When we set off against Lurgan Celtic we didn’t think we would still be here in the last four.

“But we have managed it and we challenged ourselves, and we have raised the bar each time.”