Ulster’s best look ahead to Setanta Cup showdown
There will be no love lost between clubs from the Carling Premiership and League of Ireland on St Valentine’s Day next year.
That’s when the 2011 Setanta Sports Cup will kick-off as eight teams — four from either side of the border — go into battle.
There will be six teams from each league in total, but the 2009 champions and cup winners — Glentoran and Crusaders respectively from Northern Ireland — will receive byes into the quarter-finals of the competition, with the other four places up for grabs.
Linfield, Lisburn Distillery and Cliftonville will be joined by Portadown, who despite being in the Championship, qualify through winning the Co-operative Insurance Cup 18 months ago.
The draw will be made in December and the final on Saturday May 14 will be played in Northern Ireland, if one of the Carling Premiership clubs is involved.
SETANTA SPORTS CUP 2011 FIXTURES: Round One: 1st Leg: Monday 14th February 2011; 2nd Leg: Monday 28th February/Tuesday 1st March 2011. Quarter-finals: 1st Leg: Monday 7th March 2011; 2nd Leg: Monday 21st March/Tuesday 22nd March 2011. Semi-Finals: 1st Leg: Monday 4th April 2011; 2nd Leg: Monday 18th April/Tuesday 18th April 2011. Final: Saturday 14th May