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Portadown Ronnie McFall eyes cup run despite tough draw

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Irish FA President Jim Shaw and former Glentoran star Johnny Jameson – who conducted the draw – show some of the players who will be taking part in the fifth round of the Irish Cup what they are competing for

Irish FA President Jim Shaw and former Glentoran star Johnny Jameson – who conducted the draw – show some of the players who will be taking part in the fifth round of the Irish Cup what they are competing for

Irish FA President Jim Shaw and former Glentoran star Johnny Jameson – who conducted the draw – show some of the players who will be taking part in the fifth round of the Irish Cup what they are competing for

Ronnie McFall has refused to bill Portadown's Irish Cup fifth round tie as a revenge mission.

That's because instead of looking back on last season's semi-final defeat to Glentoran, the Shamrock Park boss is more concerned with setting off on a run that will lead to the Ports succeeding the east-Belfast side as Irish Cup winners.

McFall, however, isn't expecting a ding-dong cup battle akin to some of the classic Glentoran v Portadown game of yesteryear because players can no longer tackle without the risk of picking up yellow cards.

"Revenge doesn't come into it, we just want to get as far in the competition as we can," said McFall.

"It's the draw that probably neither of us wanted, but you just have to take what you get," said McFall.

"We're delighted that we are at home, but we'd have been looking for an easier draw rather than meeting each other at this stage of the competition.

"They are always good games, but they aren't as feisty as they used to be.

"They have lost a bit of an edge, but that's the way the game has gone, you make a tackle these days and you're booked."

Last season's runners-up Cliftonville are involved in the other all-Premier League tie against Coleraine and Bannsiders striker Gary Browne sees the tie as a chance to get their season going again.

"It's a difficult draw for us, but we went there at the start of the season in the live Sky game, gave a good account of ourselves and if we can do that again then we can get another win," said Browne.

"Our league form hasn't been great. Maybe a cup win can transform our fortunes in the league."

Former Portadown midfielder Richard Clarke lost two Irish Cup finals to Linfield during his career. He will head back to Windsor Park next month as player-manager of Belfast Telegraph Championship 1 club Dergview in what is the biggest game in the Castlederg men's history.

Had the Irish Cup romantics had their way, Clarke would have been matched up with the Ports, but getting Linfield is a great second choice for the midfielder.

"It's the draw we were looking for. I would've loved to have got Portadown down to Castlederg for sentimental reasons, but for the club we wanted Linfield," said Clarke.

"It will be a great experience for the young lads in the team to go to Windsor Park.

"I've already joked with Ronnie McFall that we'll see him in the next round instead."

That match will also see Ivan Sproule face his hometown club, after the Blues confirmed the signing of the former Northern Ireland international, which was revealed in Saturday's Belfast Telegraph.

Gary Smyth, who won the Iris h Cup with Glenavon, Glentoran and Crusaders in a glittering career, is now manager of H&W Welders and he will lead them into battle against another of his old clubs, Ballymena United – managed by his former Glenavon team-mate Glenn Ferguson.

"I'm good mates with Gary Smyth and I had a feeling as soon as he got the Welders job this was going to happen," said Ferguson.

Intermediate League club Strabane Athletic's trip to Ballinamallard United will see their manager Martin Doherty and a number of his players going up against their old club.

Irish Cup draw

Linfield v Dergview

Bangor v Glebe Rangers

Ballyclare Comrades v Kilmore Rec

Moyola Park v Dungannon Swifts

Queen's University v Limavady United

Ards v Armagh City

Glenavon v Sport & Leisure

Ballymoney United v Banbridge Town

Ballinamallard United v Strabane Ath

Crumlin Star v Crusaders (at Seaview)

Cliftonville v Coleraine

H&W Welders v Ballymena United

Lisburn Distillery v PSNI

Carrick Rangers v Dundela

Portadown v Glentoran

Warrenpoint Town v Chimney Corner Ties to be played on Saturday January 11 2014

Belfast Telegraph


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