Cup run won’t prove a distraction to promotion chase

Institute boss, Paul Kee believes the defence of their Intermediate Cup won’t prove a distraction in the race for promotion to the Irish League’s top tier.

The Drumahoe men entertain Amateur League minnows, Crumlin Stars in an Intermediate Cup Fourth Round tie at the Riverside Stadium tomorrow afternoon.

Kee insists his main priority is the league this season but he believes his side are more than capable of battling on two fronts.

“It would be nice to win the competition because we’ve got a good history in it and we won it last year,” said the ‘Stute boss.

“Our focus has switched to the league this season if I’m being honest but it doesn’t matter who we’re playing we’ll give 100 per cent.

“We’ve only got 11 matches left anyway in the league so every game is important. At the same time if you were to ask me if I would switch an Intermediate Cup victory for league promotion I think you know what the answer would be.”

Tomorrow’s opponents, Crumlin proved they can raise their game against top teams as they gave Irish Premier League side, Crusaders a fright in the Irish Cup recently.

Therefore Kee envisages a tough 90 minutes tomorrow.

“Crumlin have always performed well against opposition from a higher level,” said Kee. “They gave a good account of themselves in the Steels and Sons Cup.

“They were beat in the semi-finals and were very unfortunate against Crusaders in the Irish Cup so they can’t be underestimated and it could be a tough game if we make it tough for ourselves.”

‘Stute played Derry City in a friendly match at the Vale Centre on Tuesday night and he felt it was a useful exercise for both teams.

“Five or six of our players needed games,” said Kee. “Aaron Walsh is not long back after a lengthy suspension. And Stephen O’Flynn and Michael McCrudden needed games while McFadden has been out injured.

“We introduced players like Niall Logue from the youth team who has good potential. Derry had an unfortunate series of cancellations in their pre-season schedule so when Peter Hutton contacted me I was happy to do them a favour and it turned out a good training exercise.”

‘Stute will go head-to-head with Roddy Collins’ troops once again in the Billy Kee Memorial Cup next Tuesday night.