Irish Cup final: Larne prepare for showpiece tie
Larne FC players are gearing up for tonight’s Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup final, the east Antrim club’s first appearance in the final of the blue riband trophy since 2005.
Tiernan Lynch’s team will take on the cup’s most successful side, 43-time winners Linfield, at Mourneview Park.
The Inver Park side, who triumphed in Tuesday’s semi-final against Crusaders following a controversial penalty shootout, will be hoping to add the Irish Cup to their trophy cabinet after clinching the Co Antrim Shield in December 2020.
500 lucky fans will be in Lurgan to cheer Larne on after Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed.
Click here to read Return of fans welcomed ahead of Irish Cup final
Commenting on Twitter, Larne owner Kenny Bruce said: “Fabulous to see 1,000 loyal supporters of both clubs playing their part in this showcase final. Excited.”
Ahead of the big game, excitement levels are reaching fever pitch throughout Larne, with the community and proud local businesses turning the town red in support of Tiernan Lynch’s men.
Support has flooded in for Larne in the build-up to tonight’s game, which kicks off at 7.45pm.
Commenting on Facebook, a spokesperson for Islandmagee FC said: “Everyone at the club would like to wish our neighbours Larne Football Club all the best for tonight’s Irish Cup final against Linfield.”
Willowbank Road-based side Wellington Rec also wished Larne well. A club spokesperson on social media said: “Wishing or neighbours and friends at Larne Football Club the best of luck tonight in the Irish Cup final.”
The Music Yard shared a video on social media ahead of the game, wishing the team well ahead of the clash.
The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr Peter Johnston has also wished the team well.
The DUP representative said: “What an achievement and what a story. Larne FC’s rise is the stuff of fairytales, and they have brought the entire community with them. It is a club deeply-rooted within its town and it’s been great to see people rallying behind the team and taking a real pride in their club.
“I want to commend the management, staff, players and fans for the impact they have had on and off the pitch. Larne is firmly on the footballing map in Northern Ireland, and the team, wider set up and facilities are second to none.
“Special mention must go to the man whose vision and dedication has made this all possible – Kenny Bruce MBE. He’s a true hometown hero and his love, passion and drive for Larne is exceptional.
“For those lucky enough to get their hands on a ticket to tonight’s final, I know you will raise the roof, and thousands more will be cheering Larne on from their homes. We are all behind Larne. Bring it home!”
Officers from the PSNI’s Mid and East Antrim district urged fans to “do the town proud” tonight.
A police spokesperson said: “The big day is here! It’s Cup final day!!
“If you are one of the lucky 500 who are going to Mourneview Park tonight to support Larne Football Club remember to behave, look out for each other, and do our town proud.
“If you are staying closer to home to watch the match, we want you to enjoy your evening, but remember if you’re having a drink don’t be tempted to drive, now’s the time to make whatever arrangements you need to for this evening.”
For the fans not fortunate enough to get a ticket for the match, BBC Two Northern Ireland will be showing the game live. Coverage starts at 7.30pm.
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