FOUR local teams will all bid to reach the last eight of the Tennents Irish Cup this weekend.
Dungannon Swifts, unbeaten thus far in 2019, put that record on the line when they take on Glenavon at Mourneview Park while Bluefin Sports Championship battlers Dergview visit Coleraine, the current holders.
Ballinamallard United host fellow Championship opponents Carrick Rangers at Ferney Park while giant-killers Strabane Athletic make the long trip to intermediate opponents Larne Tech OB.
That tie gives Athetic a realistic shout at putting their name in the hat for the quarter-final draw however manager Eamon Curry is looking no further than Saturday’s clash at Dennis Harvey Park.
He said, “We have had them watched three times. We now know how they play and who their danger men area.
“I have no doubt Larne will be well up for it. It could be a bit of boxing match with the first goal all important. We’re certainy not fearing them.”
Emmett McGuckin, Dergview’s new signing, is relishing the trip to Coleraine and the opportunity to cross swords with his former Derry GAA team-mate Eoin Bradley.
“We spent six or seven years together playing for the county,” said McGuckin, who scored twice in Saturday’s crucial league win over Limavady United.
“He’s a quality act all round. We’ll go in and give the holders a rattle. It’s a great occasion for the club and for the Castlederg community.”
Last weekend Coleraine were defeated 2-1 by Dungannon Swifts in the Premiership and one of their goalscorers Paul McElroy is looking forward to the short trip to Mourneview Park.
He said, “Glenavon is a tough place to go, we know that. But on the run of form we are on at the moment we don’t fear anyone.”
One of the most intriguing contests is perhaps the all-Championship clash between Ballinamallard United and Carrick Rangers.
Mallards chief Harry McConkey is a self-professed romantic when it comes to the Irish Cup.
He said, “We know the feeling of walking off Ferney Park and seing the pleasure in the fans eyes. The players just want to bring the club to the next round.”
The Larne Tech OB v Strabane Athletic tie kicks-off at the earlier time of 1.30pm with the rest at 3pm.
FULL PREVIEWS IN TODAY’S ULSTER HERALD, DUNGANNON HERALD AND STRABANE CHRONICLE
Posted: 12:20 pm January 31, 2019