Inishowen Ladies League Senior Cup Final, Illies Celtic v Carn FC, Thursday, Maginn, 7.30pm

Most neutrals may not give them much of a prayer against league champions Illies, but Carn boss Conor Doherty says his squad are in positive spirits ahead of Thursday evening's final.

The St Patrick's Park girls are on a high after being crowned second tier champions in the the North West Super League last week, and 'Doc' says lining out at Maginn is the icing on the cake to a good season.

He told the Inish Times: "The team struggled a bit at the start of the year, but since the league was broken into two we've had much better results.

"Because there's such a big gulf in class, the split gave the girls the opportunity to play really tight, competitive matches and they have done very well.

"We have a very young side. A lot of the girls are still pupils at the school, but they have gelled together really well and they have improved so much in a really short time."

Doherty has done his homework on Illies, and he knows the challenge his players face when they line out at Inishowen football's HQ tomorrow night.

Having just being crowned league champions for the second year running, Illies are also in the semi-final of the Ulster cup, and they will be going all out get their second trophy in the bag tomorrow and get themselves one step closer to the treble.

"I went up to watch them beat Bonagee," he said, "and it goes without saying they are a very good team. Paula McGrory stands out a mile, and we're thinking 'how do we stop her?' but then you have the likes of Kirsty Downey as well banging them in from 25 yards.

"Throw in Noreen Doherty and Deirdre Grant and you have a side that is strong all over the pitch, but all we can do is focus on our own performance, keep it tight at the back and play the way we know we're capable of.

"We're happy to go and enjoy the occasion. One thing that's for sure is that these girls will go out and give it a good rattle, and who knows - we might just spring a shock.”

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