Gannon wants Halifax double

Jim Gannon is hoping to make amends for previous disappointment as he aims to guide Halifax to a second successive Northern Rail Cup final by defeating Sheffield in a semi-final tie on Friday.

Gannon, currently in his second spell with Halifax, has experienced plenty of big-game heartache during his career having previously been on the losing side of both Northern Rail Cup and Challenge Cup finals, but is hoping that his fortunes will change in 2012.

“The Northern Rail Cup is a great competition and we’re pleased to be in the mix at this stage,” said Gannon. “I’ve played in a few finals during my career and been on the wrong end of the scores a few times so I want to change that.

“It was really disappointing for us to lose the final last season. I’ve had a long career but when you look back over your time it’s the achievements that stand out. When you play in a final you do so to win – no one wants to have a losers medal on their shelf and I definitely want to get a winners’ medal this year.

“We know winning it won’t be easy. You can’t have an off day if you want to be in with a chance of winning a Cup and it takes a lot of effort from any team to put a successful run together.

“But we want to win both competitions this season and we certainly have the potential to win both. If we get to the end of the season and we haven’t won any competitions we will be very disappointed. We’re fully focused on lifting the trophy and Sheffield are our first obstacle on that road.”

Halifax go into the game confident of replicating the performance that saw them defeat the Eagles 50-18 earlier on this season but Gannon says they can take nothing for granted against a side that have been scoring tries for fun all year.

“We are confident,” he said. “We’ve been gelling well recently but we’re not completely happy with our performances yet. There is still a lot of areas where we can improve and there’s still a bit of a gap to where we can be so we’re not the finished article yet.

“It was a good night when we beat them at the start of the year but the score didn’t reflect the closeness of the game. It’s a confidence booster for us because we’ve already got one over them but they’ll definitely be fired up and they’re at home as well so they’ll be confident.”

Tickets for the Northern Rail Cup semi-final between Sheffield Eagles and Halifax at Don Valley Stadium on Friday July 6 (7.30pm) cost from just £15 adult, £10 concession and £5 junior and can be purchased on the turnstiles on match day.

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