COLERAINE’S Jordan Dallas admits his team face a massive test of character in tomorrow’s IBA Senior Cup semi final clash against their Provincial rivals Ballymoney at Randalstown.
Ballymoney have endured their fair share of heartbreak over the past three years in this tournament, having suffered two semi final defeats.
But an agonising one shot defeat by Ballymena in the 2010 final still hovers over the the Church Street team like a dark cloud.
In contrast, this semi final is Coleraine’s biggest game in recent years. Even though the Bannsiders are one of only three Provincial teams to have won the famous old trophy – back in 1921 – they go into this tie with the underdog tag draped firmly around their necks.
“We have a close knit squad of players and a super team spirit,” said Dallas, son of Victor, a player who represented Ireland on 70 occasions and was also a Commonwealth Games medallist.
“There is a great camaraderie in the camp, which undoubtedly is a big asset. We’ve a nice blend of youth and experience. A few of our more experienced players were part of the team that featured in four IBA Cup semi final in the late 1980s - early 90s. The last of those was a defeat by Old Bleach at Ballymoney.
“It would be good to lay that semi final ghost to rest, but we’ll need to be at our best. It’s a massive test against a side that has gone so close to winning the cup over that last few years.”
The Bannsiders have two former cup winners in their ranks. Former international Richard McDermott was a member of the Knock side that lifted the trophy back in 1989, while big Jim Duncan was on the rostrum on three occasions, twice with Carrick and once with Cavehill.