Milford United face a daunting test if they are to join Lagan Harps in the sixth round of the FAI Junior Cup.
The team managed by Peter Doherty take on Trinity Corinthians at the College Sports Grounds in Santry on Saturday afternoon for a place in the last 16. The Dubliners are currently top of the United Churches League, while Milford are likely to be missing a number of key players.
“We’re struggling badly with boys out,” Doherty said this week. “Paul Shields, Darren McLaughlin, Niall Keenan are all huge doubts while Brendan Murray will most likely be unavailable because his partner is expecting their first child.
“So that is four pretty much guaranteed starters that we might have to cope without. On top of that, Anthony Hegarty is sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee injury while Mark Flood is also absent with a broken hand.”
Thus far, Milford have defeated Bonagee United, Kerrykeel and Rasheny from the Inishowen League and a win on Saturday would taken them to the six round of the competition, one less than the last 16 berth they managed in 2007/08 when Noel Gillespie saw his team lose to Corduff.
“We always look forward to this competition at the start of the year,” Doherty added. “It’s a competition we seemed to have done quite well in over the past number of years, with big games against the likes of Greenpark, Portmarnock, Corduff and Dungarvan.
“This game has been in our heads for well over a month now. Everybody has been eagerly looking forward to it – we just hope we don’t freeze now when it comes around. But we have plenty of experience from those other games down the years that will hopefully see us pull through.”
Meanwhile, domestically, Gweedore Celtic can move to within two points of Kilmarcennan Celtic - albeit with two games more played - at the top of the Brian McCormick Sports Premier Division. Celtic have lost just once all season, while United are bottom of the table with just a single win in the campaign but in a derby who knows. The only other fixture in the division sees Lifford Celtic travel to Dunkineely Celtic.
An inferior goal difference means that Drumoghill Celtic will not go to the top of the table with an away win over Ballybofey United in the Milford Inn Division One, but it would leave Ciaran O’Donnell’s side level on points with Eany Celtic a game in hand.
Otherwise, third-place Cappry travel to St Catherine’s, Castlefin Celtic are home to Dunlewey and bottom placed Drumbar have an appointment with Glenree United.
Rathmullan Celtic, five points clear in the CT Ball Division Two, are at Flagpole Park against Copany Rovers on Sunday in a league, that, at the minute, is developing into a very interesting one.
Three teams are currently tied on 20 points in second place, but only one of them, Arranmore United, can make a jump this weekend as they are on the island against Whitestrand United. Cranford United and Kerrykeel Club 71 have a derby match, while Drumbar hope to get a first win of the campaign against Glenree.
In the Ulster Cup, Kilmacrennan Celtic are away to Carndonagh, Raphoe Town travel to Redcastle, Lagan Harps are home to Clonmany Shamrocks, Keadue Rovers are up against Cockhill Celtic Youths and Glenea United visit Aileach.
In the Willie Duffy Saturday Division One, leaders Glencar Celtic make the short trip to take on Ramelton Mariners, Kilmacrennan Celtic don’t have far to go to meet Dunfanaghy Town and the Gweedore second strings of United and Celtic take on one another.
The only game in the Glencar Inn Division Two sees the clash of newcomers Mulroy Celtic and Erne Wanderers, while the remaining fixtures take place in the Downtown Saturday League Cup. Fintown Harps are home to last season’s runners-up Downtown United, Castlefin have Drumbar and Cranford go to Tullyvinney.
Saturday 29th January
Willie Duffy Division One
Dunfanaghy Town v Kilmacrennan Celtic - M Mulhern
Gweedore U v Gweedore C.
Ramelton M v Glencar Celtic
Glencar Inn Division Two
Mulroy C v Erne P Doherty
Downtown League Cup Group 1
Fintown H v Downtown United
Downtown League Cup 2
Castlefin C. Res v Drumbar Res.
Downtown League Cup 4
Cranford v Tullyvinney
FAI Junior Cup
Trinity Corths v Milford United Sunday 30th January
Monaghan Town v Carrowmena
Carndonagh v Kilmacrennan C.
Lagan v Clonmany Shamrocks
Redcastle v Raphoe Town
Illies Celtic v Glengad United
Cockhill Youths v Keadue
Aileach v Glenea United
Brian McCormick Sports & Leisure Premier League
Dunkineely v Lifford Celtic
Gweedore Celtic v Gweedore United V McLoughlin
Milford Inn Hotel Division One
St Catherines v Curragh Ath
Castlefin v Dunlewey C L Farren
Drumbar v Glenree P Duffy
Ballybofey v Drumoghill
CT Ball Division Two:
Arranmore United v Whitestrand
Cranford v Kerrykeel 71.
Rathmullan v Copany