Managers and club representatives at the launch of the new Ulster Senior League season. Photo: Joe Boland, North West News Pix
Cockhill Celtic will begin the defence of their Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League crown with an away game at Swilly Rovers.
Cockhill, who will bid for a sixth successive Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League crown in the 2017/18 season, start at Swilly Park on Sunday, October 1.
Gavin Cullen’s team also start their Donegal News Ulster Senior League Cup against Swilly, with a home game on Sunday-week, September 3, but their League opener takes them to Ramelton, where they sealed the title last season.
In May, Peter Doherty netted in a 1-0 win that secured the prize for Cockhill, who now go in search of a sixth successive crown.
“It’s a clean slate, the start of a new season,” Cockhill Celtic manager Gavin Cullen said.
“Clubs and teams are starting fresh and everyone wants to aim high.
“The group we have had are fantastic and motivation is never a problem. They want to be successful and want to work hard. Complacency could be an issue, but it hasn’t been and I don’t expect it to be.”
Cullen expects another tough fight to hold onto the silverware that has been at home at the Charlie O’Donnell Sports Grounds in recent years.
Cullen said: “The best players are in this League, there are no two ways about it.”
Old rivals Letterkenny Rovers and Fanad United also meet on the opening day of the new Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League season, while the senior clubs, Derry City and Finn Harps, clash.
Bonagee United, now under the charge of Tony O’Carroll, are the free team on the first weekend. The Dry Arch men have a difficult opening assignment - they are away to Cockhill on Sunday, October 8.
Four Lanterns Ulster Senior League - Opening League fixtures
Sunday, October 1, 2pm
Derry City Reserves v Finn Harps Reserves
Letterkenny Rovers v Fanad United
Swilly Rovers v Cockhill Celtic