One hundred and twenty-eight teams started the 2021/22 Irish Cup and now only two remain, writes Natalie Bowles.
Ballymena United take on Crusaders in the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup final at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park on Saturday and both teams will be aiming to get their hands on the coveted silverware.
We’ve teamed up with football statistician Marshall Gillespie to compile some killer stats about the fourth oldest national cup competition in the world.
- Ballymena (16) have reached the final more times than Crusaders (7) but the Crues has a higher success rate, winning four times to Ballymena’s six.
- Crusaders have scored in each of their last 18 Irish Cup ties totalling 45 goals. The last time they failed to find the net in an Irish Cup game was March 2017 when they lost 2-0 in the quarter-finals to Linfield at Seaview.
- In their previous 21 visits to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park, Ballymena have only emerged as winners twice. Their lastvictorythere was a penalty shoot-outwin againstColerainein the semi-final of theIrish CupinJuly 2020.
- Three of the finalists’ 12 Irish Cup meetings occurred in the same year when a trio 1-1 draws in the semi-final led to a Ballymena victory through penalties.
- Jeffrey and Baxter have faced each other 70 times as managers. 11 of these ended in a draw whilst Ballymena’s boss has come out on top 34 times to Baxter’s 25.
- Both managers received Irish Cup runners-up medals for Linfield as players. Baxter in 1992 and Jeffery in 1985. Ballymena’s manager went on to win the tournament in 1993 with Ards.
- Baxter has a 73 percent win rate in the Irish Cup and a goal difference of +94.
The Irish Cup
- Eight of the 10 of hat-tricks scored in the Irish Cup final occurred before World War Two.
- Of every goal that has been scored in the final, seven have come from a substitute. The most recent was Crusaders’ Ross Clarke who came on to score with his first touch of the game in 2019.
- The Irish Cup final has not been decided by penalties for 15 years when Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts.