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Wednesday 06 Dec 2023
Draw made for Clearer Water Irish Cup fifth round

The draw for the fifth round of the Clearer Water Irish Cup was made today – and it has thrown up some fascinating ties.

Round five of Northern Ireland’s premier cup competition is the stage where teams from the NIFL Premiership and Championship join intermediate sides who have battled through four rounds to mix it with senior teams.

The heavyweight tie of the fifth round this season is Coleraine at home to Cliftonville. Both sides currently occupy berths in the top six of the NIFL Premiership and when they met in the league at the end of October there was little to choose between the two sides as Cliftonville ran out 2-1 winners at the Showgrounds in Coleraine.

Remarkably it is the only all-Premiership tie in the last 32 of the 2023-24 competition.

There are, however, several Premiership v Championship encounters to look forward to, including Glentoran v Annagh United, league champions Larne away to Harland & Wolff Welders, Newry City versus Ballinamallard United and Carrick Rangers against Portadown.

In addition Glenavon are away to Knockbreda and cup holders Crusaders will meet Ards at Seaview.

There are also all-Championship ties between league leaders Dundela and Newington Youth as well as Bangor and Dergview.

The biggest big boys v minnows clash of the round will see Premiership side Dungannon Swifts take on Willowbank from Amateur League 1B at Stangmore Park.

NIFL Premier Intermediate League leaders Ballymacash Rangers were in the fifth round draw for the first time in their history and they were drawn to face Oxford Sunnyside at home. Oxford play in Mid-Ulster League Intermediate A.

Current Premiership leaders Linfield will face PIL side Warrenpoint Town, while Queen’s University from the PIL are due to host Ballymena United from the Premiership.

Two teams from the Amateur League Premier Division were in the hat. Crumlin Star are set to take on Institute from the Championship in Derry-Londonderry and Rosemount Rec will face Premiership new boys Loughgall away.

Championship side Ballyclare Comrades are set to duel with Strabane Athletic, who ply their trade in Intermediate League B in the Ballymena and Provincial League.

Back in September Larne-based Clearer Water agreed to be the main sponsor of the Irish Football Association’s Challenge Cup, more commonly known as the Irish Cup, for the next 10 years.

Today’s draw was made by Irish FA President Conor Kirkwood and Ross Lazaroo-Hood, Global CEO/Co-Chairman and Co-Owner of Clearer Water. BBC presenter Joel Taggart acted as MC and the drawn was show live on the BBC Sport NI website.

Clearer Water supplies water which is drawn from a deep aquifer and naturally filtered through cretaceous limestone formed 400 million years ago as part of the famous Antrim Plateau.

All the fifth round ties in the Clearer Water Irish Cup will be played on the weekend of Saturday 6 January 2024.