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CIYMS begin defence at 'Vale as Cup lands new sponsor

By Ian Callender

All eight Premier League teams were kept apart in last night's draw for the first round of next year's AJG Challenge Cup.

International insurance brokers Arthur J Gallagher are the new sponsors, agreeing a three-year deal with the NCU and replacing Ulster Bank who stepped in until a sponsor could be found.

Holders CIYMS, boosted by the signings of World Cup players Max Sorensen (pictured) and South Africa's Justin Kemp, are away to Woodvale, while beaten finalists Instonians will travel across Belfast to face Muckamore.

Newly promoted Derriaghy, who were knocked out by Academy in the preliminary round last season, could face the same fate next year if the Mallusk-based side defeat Donacloney in one of two preliminary round games.

The winners of the Saintfield/Armagh game have the prize of playing on the international ground at Stormont, against Civil Service North who reached the semi-final last year, while Ulster Bank Premier League champions Waringstown, beaten in a thrilling Cup semi-final by CI, host Ballymena, relegated from the top flight last season.

AJG Challenge Cup first round draw: Civil Service North v Saintfield, Muckamore v Instonians, Woodvale v CIYMS, Donacloney or Academy v Derriaghy, Waringstown v Ballymena, Carrickfergus v Bangor, Downpatrick v North Down, Lurgan v Lisburn. Games to be played on Saturday May 14.

Belfast Telegraph

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