Welders remain upbeat as snow steels the show

Harland and Wolff Welders captain Paul Harbinson has vowed yesterday’s postponement of the Paddy Power Steel & Sons Cup final will not derail his team’s hope of capturing the trophy for the first ever time.

The Tillysburn Park side were due to face fellow East Belfast club Knockbreda in the annual Christmas morning fixture — until it became the latest casualty of the winter weather.

Both clubs have already agreed to play the final on Monday, January 3 with a 2.30pm kick-off.

But Welders skipper Harbinson and his teammates would have preferred to have played the game in its traditional setting.

“We are all gutted,” he said. “There was a lot of talk about whether it was going to be off or on but, when we were told we couldn’t train on it on Wednesday night, we knew it didn’t look good.

“But I don’t think it makes a difference to either team, in fact it just gives us more time to train.”

Knockbreda secretary Colin Russell is maintaining a similarly positive outlook, despite the rescheduling of junior football’s most popular — and financially lucrative — fixture of the year.

He said: “The date we’ve come up with is a very good one — in fact there may be a bigger gate than we were expecting.

“A lot of people have been wishing us well and, when we tell them the new arrangements, their first reaction is that they’ll be able to make it.”

The decision to call off the Steel final arrived after a referee’s inspection yesterday afternoon.

Despite the tireless effort of dedicated supporters and staff who have worked throughout the week to clear the pitch, the harsh conditions proved all too much.

In the meantime, Nortel and Dromara Village must wait to find out whether their Border Cup will go ahead as planned.

The Amateur League’s blue riband final is set to take place at Seaview on Tuesday afternoon.

At present, representatives of both clubs are hopeful the game will proceed, but whether it does will depend on the arrival of an anticipated weekend thaw.

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