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Thursday 15 Apr 2021
Countdown to Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup is on!

With less than two weeks before this season's Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish Cup gets under way clubs outside the Premiership have been preparing for their return to action following a long period of inactivity due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Along with the easing of those restrictions at the end of March which allowed clubs to resume training, preparation friendlies against other competing sides were also permitted.

These warm-up games began in earnest at the weekend and although no spectators were allowed to attend it was, nonetheless, a welcome return to match action.

In the highest scoring of Saturday's games Ballinamallard United welcomed fellow Championship side Annagh United to Ferney Park.

Niall Henderson fired Annagh in front from the spot towards the end of the first half, a lead they held until 10minutes into the second half when Jason McCartney levelled, again from a penalty. The Mallards then pushed on to record a 4-1 win with further goals coming from Darragh McBrien, Reece Byrne and Ryan Campbell.

Loughgall also hit four goals in their victory over Portstewart at Lakeview Park. Pablo Andrade opened the scoring with a tap-in after good work from Nedas Maciulaitis to give the Villagers the lead at the break.

Andrade doubled Loughgall's lead in the second half from the rebound after his initial spot-kick had been saved before Ross Hunter bagged a brace to complete the scoring.

There was only one goal between Banbridge Town and Dergview at Crystal Park with Matthew Kirk's free-kick proving enough to give Ivan Sproule's visitors the edge while, at Breda Park, it finished scoreless between Knockbreda and St James' Swifts.

'Breda were in action again on Tuesday night when Ballyclare Comrades were the visitors. Unfortunately for Colin McIlwrath's side they ended up on the wrong side of a 5-1 scoreline after goals from Adam Gray (2), Andrew Mooney, Kyle Beggs and Kyle Crawford resulted in a comprehensive win for the Comrades.

Meanwhile, Annagh United hosted Loughgall at their Tandragee Road ground, coming out on top by the odd goal in three.

James McCormick opened the scoring for Annagh a couple of minutes before half-time with Dale Malone levelling just short of the hour mark. However, Scott McCordick struck in the 85th minute to seal the win for Ciaran McGurgan's men.