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Friday 12 Aug 2022
Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup set for kick-off

The long road to the showpiece final at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park begins this weekend with the opening round of this season's Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup.

There are 36 ties in the first round, with a further 28 clubs receiving byes into the next phase of the competition.

Among the standout games is the only all-Premier Intermediate League tie between Bangor and Queen's University at Clandeboye Park. The Seasiders just missed out on promotion to the Championship in a play-off defeat, while the students went the other way after falling through the relegation trapdoor.

Ballymacash Rangers, beginning life in the NIFL structure after clinching the Mid Ulster Intermediate A title last season, host Kilmore Rec at the Bluebell Stadium, and Rathfriland Rangers, Intermediate Cup and NAFL Premier Division double winners, are away to East Belfast.

Armagh City, who last season finished third in the PIL and were Intermediate Cup losing finalists, face Willowbank at Holm Park. Willowbank made the step up from junior football over the summer and have marked their new-found status with victories from their two Amateur League 1C outings to date.

Moyola Park, the first ever winners of the Irish Cup back in 1881, host Tullyvallen at Mill Meadow, while Lisburn Distillery, another club with a rich cup pedigree, travel to Portadown to face Bourneview Mill.

Another tie to savour could be the clash between Donegal Celtic and Belfast Celtic at Donegal Celtic Park, or what about Ballymena & Provincial Football League champions St James' Swifts on the road to take on Ballynure Old Boys?

Meanwhile, Oxford Sunnyside, who enjoyed a moment in the limelight last season when they faced Linfield in the first round proper, are away to Seagoe. And Islandmagee, who locked horns with Cliftonville at the same stage, kick off another cup journey at home to Dunmurry YM.

For a look at the full fixture list click here.