CUP FEVER HITS GERS

BANBRIDGE Rangers are preparing to play one of the biggest games in the club’s short history.

On Saturday the Blues go to Championship One leaders Carrick Rangers in the quarter-finals of the WKD Core Intermediate Cup (Taylor’s Avenue, 1.30pm).

Geordie McCallister’s side face the highest ranked league side in the competition and will be major underdogs as Banbridge Rangers are only one of two sides left from outside of the Championship.

Carrick Rangers have been hitting the headlines recently as they remain on course to join the countries top flight and also when they received a welcomed financial boost from former Northern Ireland midfielder Michael Hughes.

Carrick’s opponents this Saturday share only the Rangers name for similarity with their Banbridge visitors having only being in their sixth season in existence compared to the East Antrim side who were formed in the 1930’s and have an illustrious cup history with an Irish Cup and Intermediate Cup double back in their glory days in 1976.

Being only one of seven sides left in the Intermediate Cup is a testament to the progress achieved for Banbridge Rangers in such a short space of time.

Having a squad of players that come from the surrounding area has been one of the greatest assets to Rangers success with crowds of between 100 and 350 turning out to support the Banbridge side at a number of home matches this season.

It was the Intermediate Cup that started a current run of twelve straight victories for Banbridge Rangers when they beat Portstewart four days after losing narrowly to Newry City in the Mid Ulster Cup.

The Cup run began back in October when a Jason Gourley goal got Banbridge Rangers off to a flying start before Richard McMinn and Scott Ward scored a goal a piece in a potentially tricky away tie to Downshire Young Men in Hillsborough in freezing conditions in November.

Banbridge Rangers needed a last minute goal in extra time to see off fellow Mid Ulster hopefuls Camlough Rovers but found the going easier when they put four past Annagh United at Cheney Park two weeks ago.

Stephen Small’s Carrick Rangers started their campaign with a 4-0 demolition of Wakehurst before eliminating the 2009 winners Knockbreda with a 1-0 win at their Taylors Avenue home. Dromara Village were next to fall to the Amber and Black before a comfortable 2-0 win over Ballyclare Comrades saw Carrick progress to the Quarter Final stage.