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Party time already for in-form Bannsiders

It's only two weeks into the domestic season but already Coleraine have plenty to celebrate.

Two away wins out of two, against Donemana and defending joint league champions Strabane, they come home to their Sandel Lodge ground on Sunday for the game which will officially unveil their new £750,000 pavilion complex and changing rooms.

That it is Clontarf, in the Bob Kerr Irish Senior Cup, will only add to the occasion because Coleraine should not even have been in the competition this year — and that is why the game will take place 22 and a half hours later than the other 15 second round games.

Having finished bottom of Senior League One last season the Bannsiders were planning for a year in Senior Two but following the withdrawal from cricket of Killymallaght, Coleraine were invited to take their place not only in the top flight but also in the Irish Cup and that game is a plum home draw against the defending Leinster league champions.

The cricket club had already agreed to allow Coleraine Rugby Club to host the Ulster-Leinster junior inter-provincial tomorrow so they had to go cap in hand to Clontarf asking to put back their Irish Cup fixture but Clontarf willing agreed. The Dubliners will still travel today and the game has an 11am start on Sunday.

Scott Campbell will miss the game because it now takes place at the same time as the Under-17 inter-provincial between North West and Leinster in Dublin.

Paul Douglas, a year younger than Campbell, who opened the batting against Donemana, takes his place.

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Pick of the Irish Cup ties in the North West tomorrow is unbeaten and new-look Brigade’s clash with Instonians who will have Andrew White available for the first time after Ireland duty while St Johnston’s first Irish Cup game for 16 years is at home to Malahide.

Merrion’s return to the North West, where they lost last season’s quarter final against Limavady, and Strabane will be hoping for the same result when they host the 2008 semi finalists while Bready also have home advantage against YMCA.

Glendermott and Eglinton both head south with the latter up against North County who welcome back Andre Botha and John Mooney from the Caribbean while new left arm spin find George Dockrell will be in the Leinster line-up when the holders begin their defence at home to the former CYM side, Terenure.

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