IT’S ALL change in the Irish Senior Cup this year with no attempt to keep teams from the same union apart in the first round – for the first time since the competition started in 1982.

It resulted in four ‘derby’ clashes with Instonians facing Lisburn while Clontarf and North County, who have won the competition six times between them, were also drawn together yesterday.

It is the North West, however, who enjoyed all the luck with six teams at home and the other two, Strabane and Ballyspallen, away to Coleraine and Glendermott respectively, the game at The Rectory bringing together the teams who ended last season with the controversial abandonment which sees this year’s Premier League consist of nine teams.

Double winners Brigade host YMCA and Donemana face Rush, three-times winners of the National Cup.
Apart from Instonians, the other NCU teams at home are Civil Service North, who welcome Cork County and newly promoted Woodvale, who face 2012 and ’14 winners The Hills.

Remarkably, in the National Cup, the North West also have six home games and two derbies with last year’s beaten finalists Ardmore, denied a place in the Irish Cup because North West were restricted to just eight teams, facing Co Sligo.

Newbuildings, who host Ballaghaderreen, from Co Roscommon, yesterday signed Ireland A and former CIYMS all-rounder Johnny Thompson where he joins his former Brigade team-mate Gareth McKeegan.