Challenge Cup draw sees Lurgan face big guns Instonians
The magic of the cup was alive and well last night when the draw for the first round of the Ulster Bank Challenge Cup sent the top three Premier League sides to Section One opposition.
Instonians, the Premier League champions, travel to Lurgan while Waringstown, last year's beaten finalists, and CIYMS face the winners of the two preliminary round ties; the Villagers will return to Queensway for the third time in five years if the Queensway side - drawn at home for a seventh successive year - beat last year's Section Two champions, Academy, while CI will head to either Donacloney or Cliftonville.
First out of the hat were North Down, who will meet Lisburn in one of two all-Premier League ties. Holders Civil Service North, captained this year by Andrew Cowden, are involved in the other, against Ballymena, who haven't reached the cup final since 1981.
Carrickfergus, the 2014 Club of the Year, have a home game against Downpatrick, one of the few teams to defeat the Section One champions last season and who reached the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Relegated Muckamore meet Bangor in a repeat of the game at the same stage last season and along with the winners of the Templepatrick-Woodvale game will ensure there will be at least two teams from outside the top section in the last eight.
Ulster Bank Challenge Cup first round: North Down v Lisburn, Templepatrick v Woodvale, Muckamore v Bangor, Carrickfergus v Downpatrick, Lurgan v Instonians, Derriaghy or Academy v Waringstown, Civil Service North v Ballymena, Donacloney or Cliftonville v CIYMS.
Games to be played on Saturday May 16.