Rasharkin boss eyes cup final victory in last game

Rasharkin United boss Chris Peacock is hoping to bow out in style by guiding his team to another cup final victory.

Rasharkin take on Brantwood in the Crawford Cup showpiece this Friday night (May 18) in what will be Peacock’s last game as manager.

Rasharkin won the trophy last year and lifting it again would nicely seal off Peacock’s successful time at the club.

During his two periods in charge he has won the Ballymena & Provincial Premier League, three cups and reached two finals.

But bogey side Brantwood stand in the way of landing more silverware.

Peacock has never managed to beat Brantwood during his second spell in charge, but is determined to finally ruffle the feathers of the Belfast club.

He said: “They are a very tough nut to crack and they are the only team that I haven’t beaten in my three years back so it’s a big game.

“I’m finishing at the end of the season and it will be a nice going away present to win it in my very last game. It would be fantastic.

“We’re gonna give it a shot but it will be tough. They’re a well-established club but you never know.”

Before the final Rasharkin also play Brantwood in their last league fixture on Tuesday. Rasharkin lie three points behind Brantwood in fourth place but will not be able to catch them because of their superior goal difference.

As a result Peacock will be asking his players to tread carefully during the tie to keep themselves fit for the final.

He added: “We’ll not be taking any chances on Tuesday for the league match. We’re working with 14 players for the final and we’ll be approaching the game with great caution.”

This season Peacock experienced a large turnover of players, both in and out of the club. At one stage he struggled to field a full line-up but is more than satisfied with the team’s final league standing.

Peacock was also a founding member of the club 19 years ago and managed them during a previous 10 -year spell.

However, he feels he has taken them as far as he can and is looking for a fresh challenge.

Earlier in the season he was offered the Ballymoney United job but decided to stick with Rasharkin. The ex-Desertmartin boss added: “I won two cups in 03/04 with Rasharkin, another cup last year, beaten in two finals and we won the league title in 05. I’ve sort of done everything I could with the club.

“So come May 18 at 9.30pm I’m free if anyone wants to ring me. I’m up for a challenge.”

Crawford Cup Final Rasharkin v Brantwood at Allen Park, Antrim, kick-off 7pm.

Meet the players

Johnny Kempton (GK) - Technically very good keeper

Gareth Barkley (DEF) - Experienced and winner

David Junkin (DEF) - Accomplished defender, good aerially and on the ground

Steve Watson (DEF) - Out and out defender, aggressive

John Graham (DEF) - Pace to burn), brilliant marker

Dale Armstrong (MID) - Good captain, leads by example

Joe Patton (MID) - He’s Mr Reliable! works tirelessly

Ryan Craig (MID) - Naturally fit lad with great ability

Lee Barr (MID) - Technically clever. (strong lad)

Steven Biggers (MID) - strong, never gives the ball away (ever)

Gareth Clyde (DEF, MID)- (Left peg) talented, great delivery

Shaun Hickey (DEF, MID) - Older head, great competitor

Paul Storey (DEF, MID, STRIKER) - This lad has great experience and versatility

Ryan Boyd (STRIKER) - Awesome talent, simple as that, the best at this level without a doubt