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Thursday 04 Jan 2024
Clearer Water Irish Cup: Coleraine and Cliftonville kick off fifth round action

The heavyweight tie of the fifth round in this season’s Clearer Water Irish Cup will kick off the round five action this weekend.

NIFL Premiership sides Coleraine and Cliftonville are set to meet at the Showgrounds in Coleraine tomorrow evening, with the match being streamed live on the BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport NI website (7.45 start).

Cliftonville currently sit third in the top flight table behind Linfield and Larne after a series of solid performances, while Coleraine have been struggling to make an impact this term. They are currently in sixth position in the standings. 


But the Irish Cup has a tendency to produce results which turn the form book on its head.

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 in Coleraine.

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 Bannsiders v Reds encounter is the only all-Premiership tie in the last 32 of the 2023-24 competition. And it’s the only game not being staged this Saturday (6 January).

It means there are several Premiership v Championship encounters to look forward to in the Clearer Water Irish Cup this weekend, including cup holders Crusaders against Ards at Seaview.

Current Premiership champions Larne are away to Harland & Wolff Welders, in a repeat of last season’s quarter-final, while Glentoran are at home to Annagh United. 

Struggling Newry City will have new manager Barry Gray in the dugout for the first time when they take on Ballinamallard United at home, and Carrick Rangers can expect a tough battle when they welcome Portadown to Taylor’s Avenue. Glenavon, meanwhile, are away to Knockbreda.

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 side Ballymacash Rangers are in the fifth round for the first time in their history and they are set to face Oxford Sunnyside at home. Oxford play in Mid-Ulster League Intermediate A.

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

Two teams from the Amateur League Premier Division will be in Irish Cup action on Saturday. Crumlin Star are away to Institute from the Championship and Rosemount Rec are preparing for a tough assignment away to Loughgall.

Finally, Championship side Ballyclare Comrades are at home to Strabane Athletic, who ply their trade in Intermediate League B in the Ballymena and Provincial League. 

Irish Cup's new sponsor: Clearer Water

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.

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.

Find our more about Clearer Water here.