BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DOUBLE winners Cockhill Celtic and the League and Cup runners-up from last season, Drumkeen United, have been paired together in Group A of the 2014 Donegal News Ulster Senior League Cup.
A solitary goal from Garbhan Friel saw Cockhill take a win in the 2013 final at Dry Arch Park, Bonagee. A week later, Cockhill defeated Drumkeen 3-2 to secure the double, their second winning of the League title.
Both teams are again under the management of Donal O’Brien and Mickey Rodgers, with Cockhill pretty much straight into action again following their 2-0 defeat by St Mochtas in the FAI Intermediate Cup on Sunday.
At Drumkeen, Rodgers has recruited the assistance of Niall McGonagle, a former manager at Finn Harps, Convoy Arsenal and Buncrana Hearts in the USL. Last week in a friendly game against Finn Harps, Strabane’s Tiernan McMullan, Convoy native Dean Bonner and former Cockhill netminder Stephen Conroy were among the new faces in the Drumkeen line-up as the St Patrick’s Park outfit step up their pursuit.
Joining them in Group A are Swilly Rovers, Bonagee United and Kildrum Tigers.
Jason Gibson again has the reigns at Swilly, with Peter Moran re-appointed to Bonagee United while Kildrum have confirmed that Derry native Colm Cassidy has taken over at the helm from Maurice Toland. Cassidy, who currently manages Park Bark in the Derry and District League, will have Dessie McGinty as his number two.
It is against Kildrum at Station Road Park on Sunday February 23rd that Cockhill begin the defence of the Cup they won last season, with Swilly welcoming Drumkeen to Swilly Park.
In Group B, Fanad United, Derry City Reserves, Finn Harps Reserves and Letterkenny Rovers will battle it out. New Fanad manager Michael Deeney opens his tenure with a home game against Derry City at Triagh-A-Locha.
The Donegal News USL Cup begins on February 23rd, with the opening round of the Knockalla Caravans Cup taking place a week later – the draw for which takes place on Thursday night next.
The USL League season commences on Sunday March 16.
DONEGAL NEWS USL CUP – CONFIRMED GAMES
Group A: Swilly v Drumkeen; Kildrum v Cockhill
Group B: Fanad v Derry City Res; Finn Harps Res v Letterkenny
Group A Bonagee v Swilly; Drumkeen v Kildrum
Group B Letterkenny v Fanad; Derry v Harps