The Toals Steel & Sons Christmas Day traditional showdown sees two friendly neighbours lock horns as East Belfast take on Sirocco Works at Seaview
The 2018 Steel & Sons winner will be a side from the east side of the city as East Belfast take on Sirocco Works in a local derby in the North of the city at Seaview.
East Belfast haven’t been in the final since 1992 whilst its 80 years since Sirocco Works won their one and only Steel & Sons, the biggest year in the clubs’ history as it picked up four titles that season, so maybe its about time they lifted a 2nd.
Sirocco Works were the outsiders in the betting at the quarter-final stage but have defied their big odds not once but twice. They beat Glentoran II in the quarter-finals, aided by the number of first-team suspensions for Glentoran that week, but a very strong and deserved victory nonetheless.
They then defeated Crumlin Star on penalties in the semi-final, a match they were big outsiders for as many consider Crumlin to be the best amateur side in the country, but Sirocco could even have won it before then.
East Belfast have had a fine season and seem to be progressing very well as a club. With some notable links in the higher footballing pyramids, the Inverary Avenue Outfit have defeated Bangor (marking a centenary year the very same day) in comfortable fashion in the Quarters. They then defeated the well-fancied and touted St James’s Swifts in the semis, impressive given the fixture date confusion leading up to the game.
East Belfast will go into the game as slight favourites as they play in a higher division and their league form is a bit stronger on the whole as well. However, both teams beat the two fancied sides and will believe its a winnable game. Sirocco, despite being outsiders have won the last two meetings between the sides and suit the underdog tag and of course, in any cup final, form and recent H2Hs can go out the window and it should be a very fierce, competitive, close and highly enjoyable encounter.
One thing is for sure, the trophy will be heading back to East Belfast, the question is will it be with East Belfast?