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Bready's cup defence starts at North Down

By Ian Callender

Holders Bready have been drawn away to North Down in the first round of the O'Neill's Ulster Cup as a North West club chases a fourth successive win in the competition.

It could be a good omen for the Magheramason side as they defeated North Down in the quarter-finals of last year's competition.

The match of the round, on Saturday May 23, will see Waringstown return to the scene of their cup final defeat when they face Premiership champions Strabane.

For Ireland A all-rounder Johnny Thompson it will be a quick reunion with his former team-mates at Brigade after the Beechgrove side were drawn away to CIYMS, while the two newly promoted teams, last year's Championship winners St Johnston and Section One champions Carrickfergus, will meet in Donegal.

Three-times winners Instonians are away to Coleraine.

Meanwhile, the NCU's Twenty20 Cup will have an early finish with the group games now confirmed for Tuesday May 12, Friday May 22 and Friday June 5.

Finals day will be Sunday June 14 at The Lawn with the other semi-final three miles down the road at Pollock Park.

O'Neill's Ulster Cup first round: Coleraine v Instonians, CIYMS v Brigade, St Johnston v Carrickfergus, Civil Service North v Ardmore, Eglinton v Muckamore, Lisburn v Donemana, Strabane v Waringstown, North Down v Bready.

O'Neill's Ulster Shield first round: Downpatrick v Sion Mills, Fox Lodge v Cliftonville, Derriaghy v Killyclooney, Newbuildings v Academy, Holywood v Burndennett, Glendermott v Woodvale, Armagh v Creevedonnell, Bonds Glen v Drumaness.

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