Robert Duddy believes Harryville Homers will have to call upon all their big-match experience as they bid for a remarkable Irish Junior Cup hat-trick on Monday.
The Ballymena Saturday Morning League champions face Rosemount Rec in the final at the National Stadium at Windsor Park as they attempt to emulate the achievement of Belfast kingpins Immaculata, who won the trophy in successive years between 2009 and 2011.
It’s a repeat of last year’s final in which Homers triumphed 3-1, but Duddy believes his side will face a tough test in the second instalment.
“Rosemount had a player sent off that day and they maybe tired a wee bit due to the backlog of games they had in their own league at the time,” Duddy told Times Sport.
“In one sense it helps that it’s the same opponents as last year because they won’t be a totally unknown quantity to us and I don’t believe they have made an awful lot of changes.
“But on the other hand, they will be coming back this time with the experience of last year under their belts.
“The same thing happened with us when we lost in the final the first year - we came back the next year a lot wiser and better prepared and we won it and Rosemount will believe they can do the same.
“We had a real desire to win it the second year and we have to expect Rosemount to do the same so we will have to use the experience we have gained in recent years.”
Homers will go into the game in buoyant form after winning the County Antrim Junior Shield for the first time last week.
“There was no point losing the Shield final and them having to give ourselves a big lift for Monday but it was the perfect fillip for Monday.
“We can go there with our tails up and a bit of confidence and hopefully get the same outcome.”
On the subject of a possible ‘double’ of the two most prestigious trophies at junior level in Northern Ireland, Duddy said: “We have to draw breath but if it was to happen it really would be tremendous.”