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Thursday 08 Feb 2018
Premier Intermediate League leaders expect tough challenge

With only one league defeat between them Saturday's Match Intermediate Cup fourth round tie of the round clash between Crumlin Star and Dundela promises to be something special.

Star, from the NAFL Premier Division, have won seven (and drawn one) of their eight outings so far, while the Duns have only suffered one reversal in 13, a run that sees them sitting in pole position in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League.

Crumlin are undefeated in all Amateur League competitions this season and look well placed to hold on to the league title they claimed last term.

Paul Trainor's charges dropped those first points of the season just last week when they were held to a scoreless draw by Ards Rangers but, prior to that, had swept aside allcomers, tasting cup glory in the process with a comprehensive defeat of Downpatrick in the Border Cup final over Christmas.

Indeed the only sides to get the better of the Ardoyne men have been Ards, Glentoran and Newington ... and it's perhaps that Steel & Sons Cup loss to the Swans that gives Russell Bowers' Dundela the edge going into Saturday's encounter at The Cliff, Larne.

The east Belfast side are smarting from last week's Tennent's Irish Cup thumping away to Larne and will be looking to the Intermediate Cup for an immediate return to form. It's a competition that has seen them bag a remarkable 23 goals in their three games thus far including hitting 12 without reply past Craigavon City last time out.

Crumlin, for their part, gained revenge on Newington with a 3-0 win in the previous round, while Carrick Rangers Reserves and Bourneview Mill were dealt with earlier in the competition.

As well as the Duns, four other PIL clubs remain in contention.

Queen's University, conquerors of Armagh City in the last round, welcome Newtowne to The Dub and Lisburn Distillery travel to Mill Road to face Crumlin United.

Meanwhile, on paper, Moyola Park look to be favourites despite being drawn away to Grove United - the second lowest ranked club remaining - but Mervyn Pattison's side will be very aware that United accounted for fellow PIL side Portstewart in the last round, also on the Shore Road.

And Moyola's great rivals, Tobermore United, won't find it any easier when they host East Belfast at Fortwilliam Park. Currently a massive 13 points clear at the top of the Amateur League Premier Division, the city visitors haven't lost since mid-September.

Match Intermediate Cup (Fourth Round) - kick-off 1.30pm
Crumlin Star v Dundela
Crumlin United v Lisburn Distillery
Dromara Village v Glebe Rangers
Grove United v Moyola Park
Immaculata v Banbridge Rangers
Queen's University v Newtowne
Tobermore United v East Belfast
Windmill Stars v Rosemount Rec.