Three Flowers to bloom on Sunday?

Gerard McFarland’s Downey’s will face current McAlinden Cup holders, Three Flowers, in their first ever Derry & District F.A. in Brandywell Stadium this Sunday. (Kick-off: 2.00 p.m.)

And, as has been the case in the previous three rounds, the Shipquay Street bar side will be considered the underdogs.

In fact, Downey’s have just completed their first ever season in the Derry & District Premier Division and having completed their campaign finishing in a respectable mid-table position, that was considered success in itself.

But to have qualified for the Association’s Blue Riband final was surely the icing on the cake after a memorable season.

Conor Deane and his strike partner, Eamon Doherty, are sure to test a Three Flower’s defence which has only conceded just two goals on their way to this show-piece.

At the back, keeper Emmet Deeney and Aidan Cusack have been in outstanding form for them all season.

Downey’s received a bye in the first round before causing their first shock when ending the challenge of last year’s defeated finalists, Celtic Swifts, in a thrilling penalty shoot-out.

In the quarter-finals they overcame the challenge of former winners, Don Bosco’s and, last Sunday in the semi-finals, defeated Porter’s.

Their success so far appears to have been their work ethic, a team that battles hard for each other giving 100 per cent and they are sure to give a good account of themselves this weekend, provided of course, they don’t freeze on the big day. Three Flowers won this trophy last term (their first trophy in the Derry & District FA) and manager, Jock Dunne, will be hoping to sign off as their team boss by retaining the trophy.

Indeed, the draw was kind to the Coshquin men during their passage through the early rounds of this competition when facing three teams from the First Division.

Having cruised through fixtures against Strand United, Beechtree and Trojans Three Flowers managed to survive a significant scare in last weekend’s semi-final against Brandywell Harps.

However, on paper, they boast arguably the most experienced squad of players in the league.

Stephen Johnstone, the McCreadie brothers - Ryan and Kevin - Gerard Downey and Sean Ferguson, to name but a few, are considered high profile local players and they will fancy their chances of retaining the McAlinden Cup.

How the Downey’s defence will handle Ryan McCreadie and Paul Moore should prove particularly interesting but, no doubt, manager Ferguson will have his plans in place in that regard.

Another interesting statistic is the fact that Three Flowers have already defeated Downeys 3-1 and 8-0 in the League campaign, but the Shipquay Street side have improved quite a lot since then as their progress in this competition proves.

Flowers finished runners-up in the Premier Division and, therefore, they will be out to gain consolation from the season by clinching the trophy they won last season.

Obviously form points to a Three Flowers victory but, in a one-off match such as this, Downey’s are more than capable of causing yet another upset.

That said, the men from Coshquin are taken to retain their trophy.

Sunday’s referee is Mr. John Crossan while his assistants will be Martin Dunn and Noel Moore.

Admission to the Brandywell on Sunday is £2.00.

Names Changes

Meanwhile, at last Monday night’s meeting of the Derry & Distict F.A., the following teams will play under different names for the 2011/12 season.

Dungloe have changed their name to Telstar and Beechtree have changed their name to Oakgrove.

The annual Presentation of Trophies will be staged in the A.O.H. Clubrooms, fOYLE Street, at 7.30 p.m. on Monday, May 23rd.

All teams currently holding last season’s trophies area asked bring them along on the night and a meal will be provided.

There will be no meeting on Monday night next, May 16th, as the curtain will fall on the current season following the completion of Sunday’s the McAlinden Cup Final.