Carrick Rangers are hoping to end a 47-year wait to get their hands on the Steel and Sons Cup trophy, writes John Gillespie.
The Taylor’s Avenue club last won the traditional Christmas Day final when Billy Cubbit captained the side in 1967.
Now the current crop – under the direction of manager Gary Haveron – have the opportunity to round off the club’s 75th anniversary celebrations in style by winning some silverware.
Standing in their way are Harland and Wolff Welders whose attack is spearheaded by the free-scoring Michael McLellan alongside the experienced Davy Rainey.
It promises to be an intriguing showdown at Seaview where, for some, hearts will be broken, while for others, Christmas dreams will be realised.
Carrick’s road to the final began in August with an opening round 6-0 win away to Amateur League side Newcastle.
A Nathan McConnell hat-trick and goals from Ryan Kane, Ben Roy and Jody Lynch eased the Gers through.
A trip to Orangefield Old Boys was next up in round two and once again Rangers smashed in six without reply.
Remarkably, McConnell bagged another hat-trick, with Ciaran Donaghy, Lynch, Roy netting the other goals.
Three from Miguel Chines helped the Gers to a third-round 4-2 victory at home to Lisburn Distillery, before an impressive 3-0 success at high-flying Bangor at Clandeboye Park.
A tricky home clash against a youthful Cliftonville Reserves followed, and it was Haveron’s men who emerged as 6-3 winners in a dramatic afternoon in which Jay Donnelly scored all three for the ‘Wee Reds’.
Safely through to the last four, Carrick were paired with Championship 1 stablemates Ards, booking their spot in the final with a 2-0 win.
A Mark Burns own goal and a late Adam Dick strike proved to be the difference between the two sides in a hard-fought encounter at Seaview.
See next week’s Times (December 23) for our full preview of the festive final.