Cup finals are wonderful days, the pomp and ceremony all part of making them very special for everyone concerned, writes Kevin Hughes.
Carrick manager Gary Haveron admits this is something all at the club are embracing, but insists the result is key to the Steel Cup final becoming a truly memorable occasion.
“Everything about Christmas morning is going to be terrific but it will all be enhanced if we can bring home the silverware. The memories will not be quite the same unless we win at Seaview,” said the Larne native.
“While it is all about winning, we will be going out to play our usual attractive brand of attacking football, something I think the Welders also try to do, in fairness to Gary Smyth who has done a great job so far as their manager.
“To a degree, they put a fair emphasis on defending and their record proves they are very strong in that department. But they have a couple of great strikers who will provide a big threat.
“Davy Rainey’s scoring record speaks volumes for his ability and he’s still as sharp as ever, while Michael McLellan has already scored five hat-tricks alone this season.
“We will unfortunately be without Miguel Chines, which is a big disappointment. He got his fifth yellow card on November 29 and his one-match ban is effective 26 days later, even though there was a disciplinary committee meeting on December 1.
“But we are where we are and, although that door has closed for Miguel, it means another one has opened for somebody else to take his place and prove himself worthy of doing so and I’m sure the man chosen will do just that.
“Miguel is not just a goalscorer, he is a ball winner and a creative performer as well. We have plenty of players who fit that bill, however, and I’m confident we can still produce a performance capable of winning the cup.”
Haveron added: “The occasion will be great for the players, officials and supporters and, because it is Christmas morning, we want to make it a family occasion so the children of those players who have them, and my own as well, will be mascots and family members are all invited to join the festivities at Seaview.
“I don’t think the final will be great spectacle, most of them aren’t. Let’s hope it will end well and the cup will be back at Taylor’s Avenue on Thursday afternoon. Be assured that we will be giving it out best shot. It’s been far too long since the trophy was there.”