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  • Writer's pictureStuart Dellow


Samuel Gelston's Whiskey Irish Cup. Newry City vs Ards. Newry Showgrounds. Friday 4th February at 7.45 p.m. Ards have an unexpected chance to make progress in the Irish Cup following the expulsion of Dundela who were found to have fielded an ineligible player during their 3-2 win over Ards in the first round proper. The build up to this game is far from ideal, with John Bailie's tenure at the club having come to an end following the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Queen's at the Dub last Saturday, Development Squad Director Daryl Phillips takes the reins for this game pending the appointment of a permanent manager. Daryl is an experienced and well respected individual but has had little time to get his ideas across and will be without some key players for this clash. Obviously missing will be Benny Igiehon and Christopher Crane, who both begin three match suspensions after seeing red in the closing minutes of last week's defeat, also unavailable will be the injured duo of TJ Murray and Conal McGrandles. Kyle Calderwood has been recalled from his loan spell at Bangor and will be added to the squad. Young Benji Magee who impressed in the pre-season friendlies has rejoined the club after a spell with PSNI but is unavailable having played for PSNI in an earlier round. Newry will be confident going into this fixture, they had a 2-1 away win over Premiership opponents in the shape of Warrenpoint in the last round and are currently sitting in pole position at the top of the Championship table, they also have a good record against the Red and Blues with a goal record of ten for and three against in the last three meetings at Newry, although Ards did draw their last meeting 1-1 at Bangor in October, a game in which the Red and Blues dominated for large periods.

Daryl Phillips is looking at this game as a chance to restore confidence in a squad that clearly has the talent, as evidenced in some early season performances when they briefly topped the table, so a "nothing to lose" approach just might lead to a result that would surprise most pundits. Although there is no bus available to supporters it is hoped that as many fans as possible will make their way down to Newry to support Daryl and the team. Admission is set at £8, with concessions at £5, although Newry have advertised that kids under 12 will get in free. As in all cup games this season Newry will play in their third choice pink kit to support the work of the Southern Area Hospice.

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