Dundela are favourites for Steel & Sons glory against Immaculata

 Daniel Largey with Dundela's Stephen Gourley and the Toals Steel and Sons Cup and Carey Toal from Toals Bookmakers

Immaculata's Daniel Largey with Dundela's Stephen Gourley and the Toals Steel and Sons Cup and Carey Toal from Toals Bookmakers

Dundela striker Michael Halliday is no stranger to cup finals, but playing on Christmas Day is a new experience for the 34 year old.

The Duns face Immaculata at Seaview in Wednesday’s Toals Bookmakers Steel & Sons Cup final at Seaview (kick-off 10.45am)

Although Halliday is a committed Christian, he had no qualms about playing on Christmas morning.

Halliday explained: “Playing on Christmas Day isn’t an issue for me. Sunday is different for many Christians because it says in the Bible that it’s a different type of day, but Christmas isn’t set aside in the same manner.”

In 2008, after much consideration, Halliday played for Glentoran in a 1-0 win over Bangor at The Oval. The match was the first ever Irish League game to be played on a Sunday. Halliday believes the decision gave him the opportunity to use his influence in a positive manner.

“I had to give Sunday football a lot of consideration, but playing felt like the right thing to do as it gave me a lot of opportunities to speak in churches and at youth groups.

“As I Christian, I didn’t want to give people the impression being a Christian meant there were a whole list of things you couldn’t do. Being a Christian isn’t just about Sunday, it’s about a lifestyle. That’s my take on it.”

After distinguished career in the Premiership with Glentoran, Crusaders and Distillery, Halliday joined Championship One side Dundela in July. It was Halliday’s links with Christian organisation Athletes in Action that lead him too Wilgar Park

“I knew a lot of the boys as Dundela already, as there are quite a few Christians in the squad. A number of us went to Malawi.

“Myself, Jamie Jackson, Stevie McCain, Andy Ferguson, Owain Beggs and Stuart McCullough are all involved in Athletes in Action.

“I knew it would be a good changing room, and that played a big part in my decision to move to Dundela.”

Although Michael is excited by the prospect of playing Immaculata in the Yuletide final, not everyone in the Halliday family is delighted about the timing on the show-piece event.

“My wife wasn’t too happy at first. We were playing Ardglass earlier in the season and she asked me why we were playing them, as they’re not in our league.

“I said to her, ‘It’s a Steel & Sons Cup match, the final is on Christmas Day.’ She didn’t believe me.

“So I said, ‘No seriously, it’s the only game in Europe played on Christmas Day.’ She said, ‘I hope you get beat.’

“Every time we played in it, she told me she wanted us to lose but she’s came round to the idea now, as it will be a nice day for our kids. It’s always a family occasion.”




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