Cup action on the agenda
The inter-regional cups dominate the horizon this weekend albeit in Saturday’s National Cup 2nd round ties, only Drummond are involved from a North West perspective.
Steve Moore’s side beat North Kildare in their opening tie and have been rewarded with a home game against Downpatrick. They were to be joined by Newbuildings- Chris Cooper’s side drawn away to County Clare; however the southerners have since pulled out of the tournament leaving the Northland Road team already in the hat for the next phase.
Drummond’s visitors on Saturday beat local opposition in the shape of Killyclooney in Round 1 and will be keen to add a second North West scalp. Jordan Wade and Thomas Magowan shared all ten of the ‘Clooney wickets in that one so the Roe Valley side will need to bat well against that type of potency.
Ahmed Patil, Craig Boultwood and Paul Tate are others that the home side would do well to keep close tabs on, but to be fair to Drummond, they are no back number themselves. Moore has assembled a really strong side around him with players like namesake Chris Moore, Richard McDaid, Andy Christie, Adam McDaid, Simon Dunn and Johnny Martin all to the fore this season already.
For all Downpatrick’s quality Drummond would have a big chance of reaching the quarter-finals if they find their best form.
There are a host of 1st round ties in the O’Neill’s Ulster Shield down for decision for Sunday, minus of course the Newbuildings v Academy tie that was conceded at the weekend. Strangely, this is a tournament that local clubs haven’t fared too well in since its inception and indeed we’re still awaiting our first North West winner of the tournament.
Of those playing at home, Fox Lodge will be one of the North West’s leading hopes and Brian Allen’s men start against a Cliftonville side boosted by the return of Johnny Terrett. The Ballymagorry outfit probably start favourites in this one but it will be far from easy.
Glendermott and Woodvale have become something of old friends in recent times and Alan Johnson will know plenty of Michael Irwin’s team already. Professional Sujit Kalbhor will be keen to entertain the home crowd but the Rectory men will be disappointed if they don’t go through with home advantage.
Bonds Glen, with David Cooke finding form in recent weeks will hope to progress at the expense of Drumaness, but with just a single win so far in 2015 the Bee Gees will need to be at their best.
The rest are on the road with Sion Mills having their work cut out as they take on Downpatrick while Killyclooney will also get a proper test at Derriaghy. Mark Roulston takes his Burndennett team to Holywood while Creevedonnell travel to Armagh in search of their first win of the season.