TENNENT’S IRISH CUP: Armagh City boss Marty Rice looking to grab big opportunity

Armagh City manager, Martin Rice
Armagh City manager, Martin Rice

Armagh City boss Marty Rice believes his boys’ Tennent’s Irish Cup dream can move up a notch when Portstewart make the trip to Holm Park on Saturday.

The Championship One side are rapidly earning the tag of cup specialists as they are also still involved in the Intermediate, Bob Radcliffe and Mid Ulster Cup tournaments.

However, Rice reckons the immediate challenge is a ‘big opportunity’ to progress.

“When you reach this stage in the Irish Cup, you are targeting two things -- a home draw and a glamour tie,” he said.

“We’ve got the home draw, but in the absence of glamour opposition, you then hope for a team you think you are capable of beating. We’ll probably be favourites to go through.

“But we know what to expect against Portstewart. It isn’t that long ago we played them Championship 2, before we were promoted. They were always a difficult team to play -- and I would suspect this will be something similar.”

City, however, haven’t been in action in three weeks because of the dreadful weather conditions. Their last competitive game was back on December 19.
“We’ve been putting the players through their paces in training,” added Rice.

“It’s not ideal having no game time over the past few weeks. But we now have to make sure the boys are sharp enough.

“We’ve been working intensely on the training pitch. But the little break has also given some of the boys a chance to recover from any little niggles or knocks.

“Our cup form has been good, we are still in involved in three other tournaments. We are looking to maintain our interest as long as we can. It would be nice to land a trophy come the end of the season.

“But the Irish Cup helps create a fair bit of interest. That’s the glamour competition, so it would be great to be in the draw for the next round.”