TO compete at Wembley Stadium is the dream of many a sportsman, but the opportunity will mean more than to most for York City Knights forward Danny Kirmond.

Just short of 12 years ago, Kirmond was part of the Huddersfield Giants side that sprung a huge upset to knock out St Helens - the Challenge Cup winners of the past three years - at the semi-final stage of the competition.

That teed up the final against Warrington Wolves, however, just a week before the showpiece event, disaster struck when Kirmond suffered a serious ACL injury that ruled him out of the game.

“That was devastating and I’d go as far as to say that it was the worst thing that has happened in my life, not just in my rugby career,” admitted Kirmond.

“It was very difficult to deal with personally. From being a kid, I could remember playing rugby in the park with my cousins and we were pretending it was Wembley in the Challenge Cup final.

“To do my ACL the week before, it was disastrous for me at the time. All of my family had booked their tickets to come and watch and I felt like a failure.

“But, looking back, it probably gave me a lot more mental toughness than I had and that probably helped me progress in my career.”

Over a decade on that painful episode in this career, Kirmond now has the perfect chance at redemption with the Knights.

York host Swinton Lions at the LNER Community Stadium on Sunday (2pm) for a place in the 1895 Cup final, which serves as a curtain raiser to the Betfred Challenge Cup final.

“I’d love to get back there and finish off my career by actually getting out there rather than sitting and watching my team mates,” added the former Wakefield Trinity captain.

“It’s a massive goal of mine to get back there. I spoke to Fordy (James Ford, head coach) about that at the start of the year and it was obvious goal, along with pushing for promotion and driving the team forward.

“To get the semi-final is already a great achievement but to go out at this stage would again be devastating.

“We’ve got to make sure that we drive our standards this week and hopefully we manage to pull out a full 80-minute performance against Swinton and get there.

“But how amazing would it be to take York to Wembley, it would be great for the city and will drive on this momentum that the club has got.”

The Knights will go into the game as heavy favourites having already thrashed Swinton 64-16 earlier this season at Heywood Road.

The Lions are also yet to win any of their first eight games in the Betfred Championship - the only side in the division yet to get off the mark.

York meanwhile sit sixth following their defeat at Bradford Bulls last time out. Kirmond though insists that past results will count for little come Sunday.

“We had a poor performance at the weekend and we haven’t really hit the highs that we probably hoped we would have done,” said Kirmond

“There is a desire to get better within the squad and we driving that week on week with each other.

“We’ve played Swinton once before, but that will have no bearing on this week.

“They lost their key playmaker early on in that one, Martyn Ridyard, and there’s a massive goal at the end, which will bring the best out of both teams.”