Sunday, March 9, 2008

Irish Cup Semi-Final Draw

Cliftonville vs Linfield, The Oval, 29th March 2008
(Coleraine vs Donegal Celtic, Ballymena, same day)

Really didn't expcet this draw. Irish Cup draws in the past have been notoriously rigged to keep the two strongest teams/clubs apart with a view to getting the biggest possible final (I'll put a video up later of a previous semi draw if I can be bothered) and a part of me believes the IFA messed up! But this draw is tasty, and troublesome, for all sorts of reasons:

1. Rangers vs Celtic is on the same day
2. Reds and Blues fans would normally take the same route through the city centre to the Oval
3. Linfield fans are going to be accommodated in the home end, which could be interesting seeing as many East Belfast Glenmen, beered up after the Rangers match, will have nothing better to do than to scrap with Bluemen
4. By all accounts, Reds fans are going to have to meet at Solitude and be bussed to the game, an arrangement I'm sure they'll be delighted with. Not. Welcome to our world.

Linfield did play Cliftonville once previously at the Oval since 'the end of the Troubles', in 2004 in a CAS semi, with us in the home end and Reds fans in the City end, but it was a freezing midweek game with few fans there. This fixture has a potential for trouble, I can see a very early kick-off, possibly coinciding with the Old Firm game, which will have a very negative effect on the crowd.

I'm disappointed with the draw, I wanted to play them in the final, I'm not home till a week after so I'll miss the game, and Eddie Patterson seems to have the Indian sign over DJ. However, we do seem to play better at the Hovel (Boxing Day excepted) and we have to beat them sometime.

Bring it on!

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