THE Irish Cup has been good for Ballinamallard in recent years.

In 2019 there was the memorable run to the final which ended in defeat to Crusaders at the National Stadium at Windsor Park, while the next year they reached the quarter final of the competition before bowing out to Ballymena.

Veteran Mallards striker Ryan ‘Rocket’ Campbell believes that those runs showed that they can match anybody in a one-off game as they look to start another cup run this Saturday when they take on Dergview.

“We had the run to the final and the following year we had the run to the quarter finals, and we were just edged out by Ballymena. The Irish Cup has been good for us and we have shown we can match anybody,” said Campbell.

The Dergview game is obviously a big game for both sides and for Campbell personally, who has represented both clubs with distinction. It’s the Mallards though who he will be looking to steer through on Saturday.

“It’s a massive game – Dergview was a big part of my life, and Ballinamallard likewise, but I’m with Ballinamallard now and I’ll be going out to do my best to get us through.

“At the end of the day, somebody has to lose the game, and if it happens to us I’ll say well done to Dergview.

“Hopefully though, Ballinamallard can come out on the right side of it, and like always, it will be a competitive game,” he added.

Campbell feels that the friendly games that Ballinamallard got under their belts in recent weeks have been very beneficial in preparing them for the cup showdown.

“The games went well. Annagh was a good competitive game and the workrate was good with everybody getting minutes.

“We then travelled to Portstewart, which was another good workout, and after that we had Dungannon so it was three good run outs and everybody had the chance to get minutes under their belt.”

Indeed, he says that Manager Harry McConkey will have a hard task in settling on his starting 11 for the game.

“I wouldn’t like to be in Harry’s shoes to try and pick a starting 11, because everybody is busting themselves to try and get in the team. It is going well at the minute,” he said.

In terms of Saturday’s clash, ‘Rocket’ is hoping that home advantage plays into Ballinamallard’s hands.

“That is a massive plus for us. Everybody who knows Ballinamallard knows the style of football we like to play – we like to play football the right way, so to get home advantage and to be able to play at Ferney Park, that should be an advantage to us,” he explained.

However, he acknowledges that it is going to be difficult task to see off Dergview and reach the next round.

“It will be helter-skelter I would say for the first 20 minutes until both sides find their feet. I think it will be a good game.

“Any game we have played against Dergview it is always a tight one; there hasn’t been much in the games no matter what sides are out.

“There is always a competitive edge so we can’t take anything for granted. We are just looking to give it our all for 90 minutes, he added.”