THE draw for the second round of the Royal Liver Irish Cup has been released but with more than half the 16 first round games to be completed there is only one confirmed tie. That is the game between Malahide and CYM in a draw which generally favours Leinster clubs. Not only are all but two of them now at home in next week's delayed first round ties, but Dublin would stage six of the eight second round games on June 15, if they go through.
Cliftonville and Waringstown should have a major say in that and will be at home if, as expected, they win their first round ties against Rush and Railway Union resepectively. Waringstown will have an attractive match against Derry Journal League champions Brigade while Cliftonville would host the winners of the Phoenix/Lisburn game.
Woodvale would also be at home if they can cause a major upset and win at Limavady next Friday, the winners of that match at home to Eglinton, who have caused the shock of the first round so far, after their victory at North Down last Saturday.
Donemana, the North West cup holders and 2000 Irish Cup winners, were involved in the match of the first round and, after beating Clontarf, it is likely to be the same again next month when they visit the winners of the game between holders North County and Strabane.
In all, there could be four all-Leinster ties in the second round with a probability of two. The Hills will be big favourites to beat Muckamore and set up a home tie with Leinster but Belfast Harlequins should have a good chance of preventing a third. If they can beat Pembroke in the first round, they would return to Dublin to face Merrion.
The winners of the Fox Lodge/Instonians tie will be at home to Downpatrick or Sion Mills, and that game will be resolved today as Downpatrick embark on a hectic weekend when they will, with the weather's blessing, play four games in four days in four different competitions, all at Strangford Road. Today, for their first round Irish Cup tie, James Cunningham and Derrick McCann, who will keep wicket, come in for unavailable Robert Shilliday and ineligible professional Craig Light and it is likely to be the same line-up for tomorrow's Deloitte & Touche Senior Cup second round game against Ballymena.
Royal Liver Irish Cup second round draw: Merrion v Pembroke or Belfast Harlequins, North County or Strabane v Donemana, Fox Lodge or Instonians v Downpatrick or Sion Mills, Waringstown or Railway Union v Brigade, Rush or Cliftonville v Phoenix or Lisburn, Limavady or Woodvale v Eglinton, The Hills or Muckamore v Leinster, Malahide v CYM.
Games to be played on Saturday June 15. Reserve date, on or before Wednesday July 17.