Former Irish League midfielder looking to help boyhood club achieve even more cup success
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The former Portadown, Cliftonville, Coleraine and Carrick Rangers midfielder scored in Monday’s Steel & Sons Cup penalty shootout victory over Derriaghy CC as Star set up a Christmas Day final showdown with Comber Rec.
Those two teams also meet in the Border Cup semi-final on Wednesday while Paul Trainor’s side are still going strong in both the Intermediate Cup – a title they will look to take another step towards defending against Shankill United this afternoon – and the Irish Cup.
They’ll face Premier Intermediate League opposition in Limavady United later this month with dreams of reaching round five of Northern Ireland’s premier club cup competition and setting up a clash with the country’s elite, just like they did against Larne in 2019 when McNeill gave them a shock early lead before eventually losing 3-1 late on.
All of their progression means they’ve only played three NAFL Premier Division matches so far – most teams are approaching double figures – but McNeill says that’s a worry for down the road.
"It's hard balancing them all, but you worry about that in April,” he said. “You can complain about that then.
"For now we have to go with the flow and really enjoy it.
"There's no point not giving it your all in a cup and then getting knocked out - no way, you'll regret it later on.
"I'm a firm believer that you stay in whatever cup you can for as long as you can.
"We're realists and know for a fact that we'll never win the Irish Cup, but if we beat Limavady on the 25th that would get us into the fifth round.
"We could have the opportunity to play an Irish League team and get the club a few quid, but also the gaffer loves that we would get 10 match balls! That's the carrot for us.
“It'll probably be our toughest test to date.
"Owensy (Paul Owens) is doing a great job and I played with him at Coleraine.
"He's a great fella and doing a smashing job with Limavady.
"I have no doubt that they'll be absolutely flying.
"It's a massive test for us to have a good go at."