The McAlinden Cup takes centre stage this Sunday and in an enticing first round tie, league champions and current cup holders, Park Bar meet Top of the Hill Celtic at Lisnagelvin.
Park claimed the 2013/14 league title on March 30th last and will have immediately set their sights on the defence of the Derry & District F.A.’s Blue Riband trophy.
They needed a late winning goal in extra-time in last year’s showpiece against Trojans when winning 3-2 thanks to Darren McCready’s excellent strike.
However, they face a tough opener to this season’s competition as they take on a Top of the Hill Celtic side who fell short in the title race and who faced an early elimination in the Terry Kelly Memorial Cup during a largely forgettable campaign so far.
And for a team normally involved in all competitions at the business end of the season, the Gobnascale men will be determined to end the year in a winning note.
Park Bar are seeking a league and cup ‘double’, however, and will be highly fancied to progress to the quarter-finals this Sunday.
Elsewhere in the opening round of the competition, Brandywell Harps meet Crescent at the Brandywell Showgrounds.
Liam Deery’s Harps side have enjoyed a fantastic season so far as they challenged bravely for the league title and claimed the Terry Kelly Memorial Cup earlier this month.
Harps defeated Oxford United Stars in that final with Blaine Dobbins scoring the winning goal in extra-time and they will be hopeful of completing a memorable ‘double’ in the major cup competitions this season.
Abercorn take on Campbell’s in another first round tie to be played in Prehen this Sunday. Both teams finished in the bottom half of the top section of the league table this season so this promises to be a closely contested cup tie.
And the only other first round tie to be completed, Terry Kelly Cup finalists, Oxford United Stars will take on Phoenix in game which will kick-off at the later time of 12.30 p.m.
Paul Roddy’s young Oxford side were unfortunate to lose out in the Terry Kelly final earlier this month and they will be hoping to rectify that defeat with victory in the Blue Riband competition.
Both sides finished in the bottom section of the Premier Division this season but an entertaining affair is expected.
Meanwhile, in the only quarter-final tie to be played this weekend, last season’s defeated finalists Trojans will take on Culmore Colts in Culmore.
Paul Higgins’ troops were denied McAlinden Cup glory in their 75th anniversary year as they were narrowly defeated in the final by Park Bar last season.
It was their third cup final defeat of the season and they will be determined to put it right this season as they plot their route to the 2014 showpiece.
Culmore Colts defeated Culmore in a derby match in the opening round of this competition as Brian Scallon’s strike proved decisive.
They will be hoping to cause a shock and progress to the semi-finals of this year’s competition. And with home advantage anything can happen.
Sunday’s Fixtures - Games kick-off at 11.30 a.m. unless stated: McAlinden Cup first round: Top of the Hill Celtic v Park Bar (Lisnagelvin 2); Abercorn v Campbell’s (Prehen 3); Brandywell Harps v Crescent (Showgrounds); Phoenix v Oxford United Stars (Swilly Stadium) (Kick-off at 12.30 p.m.); McAlinden Cup quarter-final: Culmore Colts v Trojans (Culmore).
Everyone connected with the Derry & District F.A. would like to express their deepest sympathy and condolences to D&D referee, Paul Doherty following the death of his brother, Paddy who died suddenly last week.
May he rest in peace.
Annual General Meeting
The Derry & District F.A.’s annual general meeting will take place on Monday, April 28th next at 7.30 p.m. in the A.O.H. Clubrooms, Foyle Street.