COLERAINE bowlers are hoping they can end a 92-year wait and bring the IBA Cup back to the Lodge Road this Saturday.
You have to go back to 1921 for the last time the Bannsiders tasted Senior Cup glory, but victory over neighbours Ballymoney would rank as one of the biggest achievements in the club’s history.
“It’s hard to describe how big an achievement it would be to win the Irish Senior Cup, it would go down as one of the biggest in the club’s history,” said club captain Jordan Dallas.
“We haven’t lifted the trophy since 1921 and to finally get back to the final, after so many semi-final defeats, its an amazing feeling. We’ve a great bunch of lads that I can’t speak highly enough of, the team spirit and comradeship is second to none and we are just like one big family on and off the green.
“It would mean so much to the club as a whole to win the Irish Senior Cup, and when you consider the players Coleraine have had that have never won the trophy, it brings it home as to just how hard it is to win the competition.
“There’s a real buzz around the club at the minute.
“The whole place is on a high with us reaching the final, there always has been great camaraderie about the Lodge Road but with an Irish Senior Cup final to look forward to it’s on the lips of every member.
“We’ve had a massive uptake in the numbers for the bus, so much so that we had to increase the size of coach!”
Dallas knows his side will have to be at their best to see off their old foes.
“It certainly adds a wee bit of spice to the final that we are facing our old rivals Ballymoney,” said Jordan.
“So many of our boys are friendly with their lads and I’ve been in touch with a few about the match too.
“It’ll be a hard fought game with mutual respect between the teams.
“I’m sure we’ll have raucous support from both camps heading up to cheer our respective teams on!
“I don’t know if it good that we are playing a team we know so well or not.
“With the two sides battling it out in the NIPBA we will both know how each other are going to line up and we will know each others game.
“However, playing a team you know nothing about, you just turn up and play it as you find it.
“With Bangor last Saturday, we knew it was going to be a tough game, not forgetting how well they had been doing in the NIBA but we just got stuck in from the start and played well.
“We played them first game of the season in Coleraine and they beat us by three shots, claiming five of the seven points on offer.
“Up at Ballymoney, we played very well and defeated them by eight shots, pocketing 5.5 points in the process.
“They’ve been two tight games so far and I’d expect it’ll be the same on Saturday.”
The skipper is obviously delighted his side have won through to the showpiece final, however he is disappointed a league challenge didn’t materialise this season.
“We’ve been disappointed with our league form, we got off to a bad start, losing our first four matches,” he said.
“However, we had two great results back-to-back, defeating Ballymoney away and Portrush at home to get us back in the hunt before crashing to defeat against Portglenone.
“It looks like we may finish third in the league so next season we’ll look for a good push at the title.”
And victory in the IBA Cup final this Saturday may just provide the springboard the club needs to push on for further glory.