Anyone who watched Pike Rovers dissect Milford United last month will realise the task Kildrum Tigers have in the first round proper of the FAI Ford Senior Cup when they take on Clonmel Celtic at Station Road on Sunday (kick-off 1pm).
Pike breezed out of Moyle View Park with a 6-0 win in the sixth round of the FAI Junior Cup and most of the humbled locals mumbled about how they regarded the Limerick side as possibly the best junior side they had seen. However, Pike were knocked out in the last eight by the same team that had beaten them a fortnight earlier in the Munster Junior Cup - Tipperary’s Clonmel Celtic.
Last week Shaun McGowan re-signed for Finn Harps, while long time skipper Glen Bovaird has yet to put pen to paper at Station Road and Matthew Crossan is playing for Derry City. Dermot Kelly is suspended having been sent off against Cork Corinthians in the FAI Intermediate Cup exit.
Coming in are former Finn Harps winger Gary Crossan, who had been playing with his native Killea and Ryan McGarvey, who was part of Peter Hutton and Felix Healy’s pre-season plans at Finn Harps, while Oisin McMenamin will continue with his local team having joined late last year.
“They’re probably the top junior side in the country at the minute,” McDaid said of Clonmel. “They beat that Pike Rovers team twice this year so they’re obviously a very good side. We’ll try and find a bit more about them later in the week.”
With things in the world the way they are, McDaid admitted that a draw and away replay- after Kildrum’s last outing was in January in the Cork in the FAI Intermediate Cup - could be a costly affair for the Ulster Senior League side. It’s a long way to Tipperary and all that.
“We don’t need a draw,” he added. “It could cost the club to have to go and play them the next week down in Tipperary for the replay. You’d want a result one way or the other, obviously we want to progress into the next round but we hope it’s not via a replay.
“This game has probably come two weeks too soon for us. We’re not long back in pre-season and the only worry you’d have this weekend would be that your fitness won’t be what you’d want it to be, especially against a side that’s doing as well as they are.
“It was hard to get the numbers out at the same time at the start of pre-season but we’ve had good turn-outs the last couple of nights.”
Aside the FAI Cup, which Drumkeen United are also a part but obtained a first round bye, the intermediate season kicks off with Ulster Cup action. The fixtures are: Drumkeen United v Kildrum Tigers; Buncrana Hearts v Letterkenny Rovers; Swilly Rovers v Bonagee United; Fanad United v Gweedore Celtic; Milford United v Cockhill Celtic; Glenea United v Glengad; Kilmacrennan Celtic v Lagan Harps; Clonmany Shamrocks v Aileach.