Tough draw for NCU sides in Irish Cup
Ian Callender (Belfast Telegraph)
Carrickfergus have never got past the second round of the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup and that run seems set to continue in 2011 after they were drawn against the holders, Merrion, in their opening match.
They will, at least, have home advantage, one of five NCU teams to get a home draw in the seeded draw which keeps apart teams from the same union.
Competing for the match of the round in the area will be Instonians' tie against last year's beaten semi finalists Fox Lodge while CIYMS, who reached the quarter finals last season, host Bready.
In the North West, all roads will lead to Strabane, the league champions drawn against last year's beaten finalists, Railway Union, although Limavady will return home with an attractive game against The Hills, beaten finalists in 2007 and who have won their opening match for the last five years. Brigade host NCU double winners North Down while Bonds Glen's first Irish Cup match is a home one, against Civil Service North.
Travelling south are Waringstown, who will expect to beat YMCA, having won three times in Dublin last year, but it promises to be much more difficult for Ballymena and Coleraine who are away to Leinster league champions North County and their predecessors Clontarf respectively.
Muckamore play their first Irish Cup match since 2002, but they must wait until Leinster and Terenure complete their first round match and it will be a trip to Malahide or Rush for North West Cup holders Donemana.
There is also a home draw for the Irish Cup debutants in Munster with Phoenix heading west to face Limerick Tigers.
Bob Kerr Irish Cup second round: Limerick Raiders v Phoenix, Eglinton v Cork County, Limavady v The Hills, Brigade v North Down, Bonds Glen v Civil Service North, Strabane v Railway Union, North County v Ballymena, YMCA v Waringstown, Clontarf v Coleraine, Malahide or Rush v Donemana, Leinster or Terenure v Muckamore, Instonians v Fox Lodge, CIYMS v Bready, Bangor v Glendermott, Carrickfergus v Merrion (holders), Lisburn v Pembroke or Old Belvedere.