Irish Cup draw takes place today

Coleraine and Portstewart to discover their fate when draw is held at 5.30pm

Irish Cup draw takes place today

Praying for a home draw when the draw takes place this afternoon.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

COLERAINE will learn their Irish Cup fate when the draw for the opening round of this season's competition takes place later this afternoon (Thursday).

The draw is due to be streamed live on the BBC Sport NI website at 5.30pm from the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

And in this year of uncertainty about the only thing you can take for certain is that the Bannsiders will be looking for a home draw.

Especially, as the number of participating clubs has been reduced to 32 clubs in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its affect on the local game.

The opening round - known as the Round of 32 - will get under way on Saturday January 9 2021 and involve the 24 senior clubs of the NIFL Premiership and Championship along with eight intermediate clubs.

Four of those intermediate clubs are the semi-finalists of the McComb’s Coach Travel Intermediate Cup from season 2019-20 – Dollingstown, Newington, St James’ Swifts and Belfast Celtic.

The remaining four places have gone to the four intermediate teams ranked highest in last season’s league pyramid based on points per game. They are PSNI, Portstewart, Bangor and Banbridge Town.

The Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup attracted 130 teams in 2019-20, made up of senior clubs and intermediate clubs.

The committee said the decision to scale back the Irish Cup this season was “in the best interests of the competition and with the current social and health situation in mind”.

It also said it hoped to return to the traditional cup format in the 2021-22 season. The traditional format sees intermediate sides compete in four rounds before being joined by the 24 senior clubs in the last 32 (fifth round).

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