Tough draws for NW sides
The draws for next season's Irish Senior and National Cups took place in Dublin on Wednesday and North West sides look to have a job on their hands once again if they are to buck a pretty ordinary recent trend in the country's premier cup competition.
Former winners Donemana have arguably the most difficult tie of all as they travel to Clontarf to tackle the Leinster champions in the pick of the 1st round games.
Ricky-Lee Dougherty's men have been very quiet so far in the winter transfer stakes, albeit that is usually a good sign for them. It looks for now as though the North West double winners will be keeping most if not all of last year's personnel and they will certainly need them at Castle Avenue next May.
Brigade and Coleraine have been the region's two busiest clubs during the close season and both have landed home ties against southern opposition.
The Bannsiders will host a Railway Union side that struggled in their domestic league last time while Andy Britton's men should start favourites against 2016 Division 2 runners-up, Leinster.
Ardmore are on the road; Gary Neely's men might be hard-pressed to repeat last year's heroics domestically, but will feel they have a chance at newly-promoted Muckamore.
Eglinton wouldn't be without a life against Lisburn either given that the home side hasn't set the world alight in the last couple of years while Drummond will be looking to recruit before they start away at Fingal side Balbriggan.
Bready will be rigorously tested by newly promoted Cork County while neighbours Fox Lodge, last man standing for the North West in this competition this summer, have a tasty home tie against North Down to look forward to over the winter.
Strabane will play their first ever game in the National Cup away at NCU Section 2 winners Cliftonville as the Red Caps begin life outside the top flight.
Ballyspallen have drawn the short straw in this competition although the Roe Valley men won't be overawed by a trip to holders Rush.
Sion Mills, Burndennett and Bonds Glen have all landed home ties against Saintfield, Armagh and North Kildare respectively while Killyclooney are also spared a journey as they entertain Academy.
Glendermott rarely mind a scrap and that's exactly what Alan Johnson's men can expect as they play host to a very strong Malahide outfit.
Elsewhere Newbuildings and St Johnston are again looking to hire a bus- Dale Culbert's boys away to Section 2 Laurelvale while the Donegal side will enjoy their trip to recently relegated Derriaghy.
Ties are scheduled to be played on Saturday 13 May.
The draws for the North West domestic cups will also be made this weekend and posted on the site, with the exception of the Bank of Ireland senior cup.
The 1st round of the region's blue riband trophy will be drawn 'live' on BBC Radio Foyle, and although yet to be confirmed, it is expected the draw will take place on the breakfast show around 8.45 next Wednesday morning.