Derby fever hits Slane and Gers

WHEN news of Moneyslane’s acceptance into the Intermediate Leagues of Mid Ulster started filtering out in July last year the first thing mentioned by people across the district was the prospect of the big derby between Banbridge Rangers and Moneyslane.

The fixture was originally scheduled for December but was put back to January due to cup competition commitments and will be played this Friday. Both clubs are reknowned for their large support and will hopefully create a superb atmosphere on Friday night with kick off at 8pm.

Up to 500 people are expected to attend the game according to a Banbridge Rangers spokesperson.

The two teams have not met at senior level since October 2005 when Moneyslane ran out 3-2 winners in the first round of the Bobby Dalzell Cup. Many players have came and gone from both teams but there is still a core off players who were involved that day and will do so again on Friday including Colin Cousins, Chris Chambers, Richard McMinn and Dan Thornton.

The anticipation has gone beyond the two teams with a large section of neutrals expected at Cheney Park on Friday to see the two rivals in action. The charge at the gate is £3 for the game with all parking for home supporters restricted to the Coach Car Park and Laws Lane for the away supporters. There will be the customary match day programmes on sale at the gates along with a youth team match between the two clubs for the half time entertainment.

Were Rangers to win it would move them into second place in Intermediate B, while for Slane three points would leave them level on points with Ballymacash Rangers, Broomhill and Lurgan Town Boys - overnight at least.

Rangers are looking to bounce back following a shock 3-2 cup defeat to bottom club Banbridge AFC last weekend.

Meanwhile Slane were beaten 3-1 at the weekend by AFC Craigavon, meaning they have only won one game in their last 15.