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Thursday 18 Aug 2016
Tennent's Irish Cup First Round Preview

Just 104 days after goals from Kevin Braniff and Andy Hall blasted Glenavon to Tennent's Irish Cup glory the long road back to the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park begins all over again with 37 First Round ties this weekend.

Although the bulk of these will be played on Saturday there are a couple of games on Friday night, one of which will feature former winners Bangor as they take on Newington at Seaview (kick-off 7:30pm) in one of the stand out ties.

The Seasiders tasted victory in 1992/93 but this season dropped into the newly established NIFL Premier Intermediate League and, as a result, find themselves thrown into the thick of First Round action.

But Bangor aren't the only former winners dipping their toes into cup waters so early on in the season.

Due to the changes in the NI Football League structure there are now 24 senior clubs, all of which will enter the competition at the Fifth Round stage in January. As a consequence, all Intermediate level clubs will now enter at the same stage.

Garth Scates' side are joined by 12-time champions Lisburn Distillery (home v. Rosario YC) and first ever holders Moyola Park (away v. Rathfriland Rangers) while Dundela, winners in 1955, are one of 26 clubs receiving a bye into the Second Round.

Limavady United, twice runners-up, are also in action when they host fellow PIL side Banbridge Town at The Showgrounds.

And a further four clubs from that top tier of intermediate football - Donegal Celtic, Newry City AFC, Queen's University and Sport & Leisure Swifts - all face challenges if they are to progress.

Celtic are up against Oxford United Stars, Damien Mullen's resurgent Newry take on Oxford Sunnyside, the students of Queen's have been paired with Dromore Amateurs while the Swifts must get past Ballynahinch Olympic.

Last season's Amateur League champions Immaculata are away to Intermediate League runners-up Trojans in what could be an intriguing encounter at the Swilly Stadium while Steel & Sons Cup losing finalists Albert Foundry travel to Ballyclare to face Ballynure OB.

Meanwhile, Newtowne - Ballymena & District Provincial League champions - make the long journey to Kilkeel to face Valley Rangers. In stark contrast, there is a local derby at Allen Park as Chimney Corner take on near neighbours Crewe United.

Friday, 19th August, 2016 (kick-off 7:30pm unless stated)
Newington v. Bangor
Windmill Stars v. Tullyvallen Rangers (8pm)

Saturday, 20th August, 2016 (kick-off 1:30pm)
18th Newtownabbey OB v. Bangor Amateurs
Abbey Villa v. Holywood
Ballynure OB v. Albert Foundry
Ballywalter Rec v. Ardstraw
Banbridge Rangers v. Derriaghy CC
Bloomfield v. Seapatrick
Brantwood v. Comber Rec.

Chimney Corner v. Crewe United
Coagh United v. Malachians
Craigavon City v. Grove United
Desertmartin v. Newcastle
Dollingstown v. Newbuildings United
Donegal Celtic v. Oxford United Stars
Downshire YM v. Rathfern Rangers
Dungiven v. Saintfield United
Dunloy v. Wellington Rec.
East Belfast v. Dundonald
Glebe Rangers v. Iveagh United
Islandmagee v. Ballymacash Rangers
Limavady United v. Banbridge Town
Lisburn Distillery v. Rosario YC
Lurgan Town v. Laurelvale
Moneyslane v. Magherafelt Sky Blues
Newry City AFC v. Oxford Sunnyside
Portaferry Rovers v. AFC Silverwood
Queen's University v. Dromore Amateurs
Rathfriland Rangers v. Moyola Park
Shankill United v. Crumlin United
Sirocco Works v. Hanover
Sport & Leisure Swifts v. Ballynahinch Olympic
St. Patrick's YM v. Markethill Swifts
Trojans v. Immaculata
UUJ v. Dungannon Rovers
Valley Rangers v. Newtowne

Sunday, 21st August, 2016 (kick-off 1:30pm)
Sofia Farmer v. Lower Maze

Byes: Ardglass, Ards Rangers, Ballymoney United, Ballynahinch United, Barn United, Camlough Rovers, Crumlin Star, Donard Hospital, Dromara Village, Drumaness Mills, Dundela, Killyleagh YC, Larne Tech. OB, Lisburn Rangers, Maiden City, Mossley, Nortel, Portstewart, Richhill AFC, Seagoe, Shorts, St. Luke's, St. Mary's YC, Strabane Athletic, Tobermore United, Wakehurst