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Minnows given chance to perform giant-killing heroics: Irish Cup draw

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Up for the cup: Pictured at yesterday’s Irish Cup draw are: Gary Haveron of Carrick Rangers, Gary Hamilton of Glenavon, James Kirk of PSNI, David McAlinden of Larne, Lee Doherty of Ballymena United and Aaron Service of Moyola Park

Up for the cup: Pictured at yesterday’s Irish Cup draw are: Gary Haveron of Carrick Rangers, Gary Hamilton of Glenavon, James Kirk of PSNI, David McAlinden of Larne, Lee Doherty of Ballymena United and Aaron Service of Moyola Park

Up for the cup: Pictured at yesterday’s Irish Cup draw are: Gary Haveron of Carrick Rangers, Gary Hamilton of Glenavon, James Kirk of PSNI, David McAlinden of Larne, Lee Doherty of Ballymena United and Aaron Service of Moyola Park

There weren't many audible gasps when the draw was made for the fifth round of the Irish Cup yesterday.

The assembled audience waited for the glamour games but they didn't come as the Danske Bank Premiership's big guns were kept apart.

But the potential for giant-killing heroics is huge, with minnows given the opportunity to slay giants.

And the current holders of the glittering trophy, Glenavon, will travel to Championship Two side Moyola Park, the club who were the first winners of this famous tournament in 1881.

Back then, 1,500 fans watched Moyola overcome Cliftonville 1-0 and that result at the Cliftonville Cricket Ground signalled the beginning of some painful memories for the losers.

The north-Belfast side have lifted the prize on eight occasions but also finished runners-up 11 times and they haven't won it since 1979.

The Reds are a very different proposition these days and Ards Rangers of the Amateur League have been assigned the task of beating them at Solitude.

They've a mountain more imposing than Cavehill to climb but Rangers boss Lee Forsythe is relishing the challenge.

"It's a great draw for the club and we will have nothing to lose from this fixture," he said.

"We are playing well and we are familiar with the artificial surface so maybe we can do some damage.

"We are also playing in the Border Cup final at Seaview a few weeks before that so we will have the experience. We are an Amateur League side and it's what we wanted.

"I'm sure Cliftonville will be confident they can win the game but hopefully we can pull a few surprises out of the hat. The boys will be up for it."

Last season's beaten finalists, Ballymena United, will be at home to Amateur League outfit Crumlin Star.

United coach Lee Doherty said: "All you can ask for is a home draw but I can remember us struggling to beat Derriaghy in the Irish Cup a few years ago.

"It will be a tough game but our progression to the League Cup final is a major boost to the club, not just the players but for the whole town and the fans."

There are two all-Premiership ties in the fifth round with Dungannon Swifts welcoming Ballinamallard United to Stangmore Park while Warrenpoint Town will travel to Coleraine.

Town visit the Showgrounds on Saturday in a swift dress rehearsal! Among the other intriguing ties is Crusaders v Newington, while neighbours Larne and Carrick Rangers will clash at Inver Park.

Newington play their home matches at Seaview so they can have no complaints about playing on the artificial surface!

The sides met in the League Cup in August, 2013 with the Crues winning 3-1.

Both clubs have a close working relationship and have even been trying to secure a shared stadium in the north-Belfast area since 2008.

Warren Feeney's first taste of Irish Cup action sees his Linfield side travel to Tobermore United, currently third from bottom in Belfast Telegraph Championship 2.

"We give every team we play respect," said Feeney. "We are top of the league at the moment and where we want to be but there's a lot of football to be played and if we are top come May I'll be happy. We will keep our feet on the ground. It's a good Irish Cup draw for us but also for them. We will go into it confident that we can get the right result."

Blues ace Kirk Millar added: "Hopefully we will deserve more recognition after the Christmas period as we have big games ahead. If we could get two wins against Portadown this Saturday and then Glentoran on Boxing Day, then we will be flying.

"We can't get carried away with our position though, we are just past the halfway point in the league and it's shaping up to be a tight title race."

Glentoran, stung by Newington Youth Club at the Oval in the fifth round in January 2012, welcome Ards to the Oval wary of slipping up on another banana skin.

After the fantastic run of Queen's to the semi-finals last season, the minnows don't have to delve too much into the history books for some inspiration.

Belfast Telegraph


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