Terrific opportunity for Ballymena to reach final, says Glenn Ferguson

Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson
Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson

Glenn Ferguson believes Ballymena United will not have a better chance of reaching an Irish Cup final.

The Sky Blues were handed the draw everyone wanted when they were paired with Championship 2 minnows Queen’s University in Saturday’s semi-finals.

The Braidmen are 4/11 favourites to book their place in next month’s showpiece decider, and with it keep alive hopes of a first Irish Cup success in 25 years.

Asked if Ballymena will ever have a better opportunity to reach the final, Ferguson said: “No, we won’t. And that’s just being honest about it.

“I remember about eight years ago at Linfield, and Killyleagh were one of the teams in the semi-finals and we drew them. We ended up winning comfortably and that was a golden chance.

“When you get to this stage, you want to try and get the team that’s least favourites. This is a chance of reaching an Irish Cup final, and possibly getting European football.

“Without being disrespectful, when the draw was made and we got Queen’s, we were happy,” he added.

“But we won’t treat them any differently. We will be professional.

“I have seen them play and they can do a job.”

Ferguson has warned his players of complacency ahead of today’s showdown at the Oval.

“Hopefully the players will remain focused and not be complacent – but we won’t know until the day,” he added.

“We were complacent against Glentoran recently when we lost 3-0. I think some of our players looked at the Glens team-sheet and thought it would be easier.

“Well, after that defeat the players knew how angry I was. We probably had to make a statement after that, and we dropped five of them including our captain Allan Jenkins. So they all know nobody’s place in the team is guaranteed.”