Zelda Palmer is steeped in Ballinamallard history.

Family connections have tied her to the club and have shaped some of her earliest memories, and on Saturday she will be one of many supporters travelling to Lurgan looking to witness another piece of club history.

The village will be out in force in support of their team, and Zelda says there is a great atmosphere around Ballinamallard as excitement builds. “The team is part of the village and when the team is doing well there is such a buzz about,” she said.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s an amazing achievement. At the beginning of the season it looked like we might have been going further down, but Harry has turned it around. To think that we are only two matches away from winning the cup and dare we say Europe. It’s great for everybody.”

Zelda’s father Billy Aiken was one of the founder members of the club, with two of her brothers playing for the club.

Jeff Aiken went on to hold the position of Chairman, and her husband Jackie is the current vice Chairman.

Zelda has memories of a very different club to the Premier League standard ground today’s fans can enjoy.

“When you were an Aiken you had to like sport, especially football,” she recalled.

“There was six of us, three girls and three boys, and Jeff and Earl both played for Ballinamallard. As long as I can remember we were always at the club. I can remember Dad having to put down corrugated iron on the ground to get across to the football pitch. Mum and Mrs Fallis used to wash the kit, so that arrived home on a Saturday night. It wasn’t automatic then so I would have been helping mum do the washing. It wasn’t what it is now!”

Despite all the changes, the links to the local community still remain. Zelda is a member of the recently formed Ladies committee, and they have been preparing for the big day.

“We have been busy making flags and we are determined it will be a sea of blue and white,” she said.

“When Jeff was chairman he thought the ladies committee would be a good idea, but we were very conscious that we were not going to be tea ladies. That is not what we are about. We are there to support all the other committees and play an active role. Our main role is to arrange a bit of fundraising and we have taken over the merchandising, and arranging fun nights.

“We have a 5K and 10K coming up on April 12. We are only two years running so we are very new, and we are working alongside other good committees and people within the club. Everybody is working really hard to support and help the club.”

The local links are also evident out on the football pitch, with many of the squad members having graduated from the youth teams.

“It’s great to see that you have the experienced players, but you also have the young players from the village and surrounding areas now in the team,” said Zelda.

“It has always had local lads and local guys from the village, and if you were a young boy or girl you would be thinking that this can really happen and it is achievable. Dreams do come true. I think sometimes we can be looked down upon, but we are sitting in one of the best grounds in Northern Ireland and we have local players who have stuck by us, and I think it’s great for them.

“I think they deserve it, and win or lose we will still support them. That is what it is like at Ballinamallard. It feels like a big family. We were so devastated last season because we were so close to staying up, so this has given us the belief again that we can get back up there. There is nothing stopping us, and we can be as good as any of the other teams. Everybody is going, and if we get to the final everybody is closing up for the day!”