Senior Cup Preview
Holders and favourites Donemana are on the hunt for a new record of seven-in-a-row and the Holm side have a first-round tie at neighbours Strabane to navigate first up.
The visitors have made a miserable start to the new season, but that will matter very little on Saturday given their penchant for this competition.
Both teams are expected to have a clean bill of health which means Donemana will be hard to work with, however now that Ryan Gallagher is back, and Rachit Gaur has joined the Red Caps from Railway Union it might not be the ‘gimme’ it looked a fortnight ago.
League leaders Bready entertain a Coleraine side that has made an in and out start to the season. The Bannsiders were well beaten at Brigade in midweek but were understrength for that one.
It is a challenge Scott Campbell’s men will relish, but they will need to bat well against one of the best seam attacks in the region.
Davy Scanlon’s side is looking a far cry from the one that has been floundering in the bottom three in the league for the past few years, into one that may now be about to fulfil some of their potential.
Bready should win, but again, there may not be much in it.
There are four Premiership v Championship ties, and it is difficult to see any of the second-tier teams causing an upset.
Eglinton is another side looking lively this summer, and Stuart Thompson’s men should be too strong for Killyclooney despite the visitors’ obvious threat.
Similar comments apply to the Bleach Green were Ardmore should have too much for Bonds Glen and again at the Boathole where Brigade will be keen to make up for a frustrating 2017 cup campaign.
Burndennett will want to put up a real show at home to neighbours Fox Lodge, and that could be the round’s banana skin if there is to be one.
The one all-Championship tie between Glendermott and Ballyspallen could well be the game of the day. The two promotion hunters met here last week with the visitors running out 5-wicket winners. That, of course, will count for little on Saturday.
That game at the Rectory is one of three ties already brought forward to noon- Burndennett and St Johnston the other two venues to do likewise.
With good weather forecast and a Champions League final to follow, there may well be more to join them.