Cup draw throws up possible derby clash

FOOTBALL fans in the Ballyclare area are buzzing about the possibility of a Ballyclare Comrades - Ballynure Old Boys clash in the Steel & Sons Cup.

Eddie Hill’s Comrades received a bye in the first round of this prestigious competition, but have a home draw on September 8 in the second round against the winners of Raceview and Ballynure.

This first-round match, set to be played on August 18, will be difficult to call; Raceview, from Broughshane, are the reigning Ballymena Intermediate and Provincial Premier League champions, but they will face stiff opposition from Gary Burns’s men. Ballyclare supporters await the outcome with much interest.

The Comrades commence their Championship 2 programme with a trip to The Dub on August 11 to take on Queen’s University, with their first home fixture of the season a week later when they entertain Moyola Park at Dixon Park.

November will be a testing time for the Reds when they travel to Armagh City and Banbridge Town; these two clubs are likely to be there or thereabouts at the business end of the season. Ballymoney United and Lurgan Celtic both come to Ballyclare in October. The outcome of these four vital fixtures could prove vital.

Over the Christmas holiday period, Comrades have a home local derby with Chimney Corner on December 29, and what a boost it would be if the Steel & Sons Cup is on display!

Meanwhile, it’s back to the pre-season friendlies with All-Ireland knockout champions, Crusaders, coming to Dixon Park on Saturday 28th, followed by a visit by UUJ a week later.

On the player, front goalkeeper Paul Hughes has returned to former club Dundela, while defender Phil Logue is now working in London.