Ballyclare bid to secure home comfort in Cup
Ulster have four teams contesting the first round of the All Ireland Junior Cup this afternoon and their main hope is Ballyclare, who are undefeated in their five Kukri league fixtures.
They travel to Connemara and although weakened by a number of injuries and absentees will be expected to progress, with coach Mike McKeever hoping that will lead to a first home draw in the competition in the next round. "This is our third season to qualify and the fourth time to be drawn away from home but if we win, maybe we will have a bit of luck next time," he said.
CIYMS, with only a draw from six league outings, including a 54-0 defeat by Dromore last time out, will be somewhat stronger for the visit of Monivea while, despite being away from home, Carrickfergus will start favourites to overcome an out of form Waterpark. Instonians should have the edge over Dundalk.
Ulster teams have not fared well in the past with only two successes in 13 seasons. Rainey won the inaugural trophy in 2006 and City of Derry pipped Armagh in the final four years later. Leinster teams have won 10 times and are looking for an eighth successive title.
Crosshaven won the trophy for Munster in 2011 and no team from Connacht has been successful. Strangely enough Ashbourne, Enniscorthy, Dundalk and Tullamore have stood out over the past seven seasons, yet only Tullamore have progressed and remained in the AIL.