NEWS that two of Banbridge Town’s players have been called up to the Northern Ireland squad for this year’s Regions Cup - with a further two on the standby list - has been warmly welcomed by the club.
Star striker Timmy Grant and midfielder Chris McGrath have been named by Harry McConkey in his squad for the competition with Stephen O’Neill and Conor Downey on the waiting list for the trip to San Marino.
The squad fly out on March 4, and with at least two Town players involved it could mean the postponement of their trip to Portstewart on March 9 - although that is yet to be confirmed by the club.
“It’s great news for the boys and for the club in general,” said Town Chairman Andrew Cully.
“Timmy has been a crowd favourite at Crystal Park for many years and it’s good to see him representing his country once again. I believe this is his eighth Regions Cup tournament which is quite an achievement.
“Chris has impressed since he arrived at the club and I’m sure he’ll play a major part in Northern Ireland’s fortunes.
“Hopefully Stephen and Conor will get a chance to fly out as well and give a good representation of themselves.
“My message to the players would be not to get carried away - if you apply yourself at club level then, as you can see from what these lads have achieved, you will get the rewards.”
Also included in the Regions Cup squad are former Town midfielders Damian McParland and Ryan Moffatt, who is currently with Ards.
This week Brian Adair’s men take on Sport and Leisure Swifts at Crystal Park but they will be without the suspended Chris McGrath, who has been banned for one game after picking up five yellow cards.
A win could see Town leapfrog Ballymoney United into eighth place against a Swifts side who are desperate for a win to move them further away from the bottom two sides.
Kick-off at Crystal Park is at 3pm.
Meanwhile the draw will take place tonight (Tuesday) for the quarter-finals of the Coca-Cola Intermediate Cup during a meeting of the Intermediate Committee of the Irish FA.
Town secured their place in the last eight with a depleated side seeing off Downshire 2-1 on Saturday (report on P39).
They could face one of Glentoran II, Bangor, Dergview, Institute, Limavady United, Newbuildings or Ards Rangers in the last eight.
Keep an eye out on our sport Twitter page (@sport_banleader) for news of the draw when it comes in