Soccer – FAI Umbro Intermediate Cup
By Liam Porter
Having seen off the challenge of their closest rivals in Donegal with a dramatic extra-time victory, Ulster Senior League champions Cockhill Celtic have been handed the toughest draw of the three remaining USL sides in Round 3 of the Intermediate Cup.
Donal O’Brien’s side who already have a League and League Cup under their belts this season will travel to Leinster Senior League side Crumlin who are joint top of the LSL and are unbeaten.
Victory for Cockhill would be a clear signal of intent from the USL champions but they will certainly have to do it the hard way, travelling to face a side with six wins and a draw under their belt in their league campaign to date.
There was better luck for the other two USL sides left in the competition – Letterkenny Rovers and Swilly Rovers – in that they have both at least got home draws.
Jason Gibson’s Swilly will face another Leinster Senior League side, UCD in their third round clash in Swilly Park while Trevor Scanlon’s Letterkenny Rovers who defeated Bonagee United in the last round have also been drawn at home against St. Francis, also of the Leinster Senior League.
Swilly saw off Kildrum Tigers in the previous round and manager Jason Gibson will be hoping to have a players back from injury and suspension before the visit of the students.
“We’re delighted to have got a home draw, it’s all we really could have asked for but we know it will still be a difficult task against a team who play in the top league in Dublin.”
Having been promoted last season, UCD currently lie 4th from bottom of the Leinster Senior League with seven points from seven games, but Gibson expects them to prove to be difficult opponents.
“I think they are probably only finding their feet at the moment in the top division of the Leinster Senior League, but if they are in that division they will be a decent side and I expect them to bring a young, fit team to face us.”
With that in prospect the Swilly manager says he is hopeful that Declan Curtis and David Fisher will have returned from injury and be available for selection, while he’s also set to have Blain Curtis back from suspension for the game.
“We really are down to the bare bones in terms of a squad at the minute so when you add those three to the lads we had for the last round then hopefully it won’t be too bad.”
Of course he’s well aware that the visitors will arrive in Ramelton just freshly in to their season, while his team has changed dramatically since the first few games of the USL campaign.
“We lost Terence Shields and Keith Hegarty to cruciate ligament injuries and then we lost four players to the U19 league, so in that respect we have a very different squad from what we had available at the start of the year. That said we are looking forward to the visit of UCD now, it will generate a bit of interest again, they do like their cup football in Ramelton,” he said.
The full third round draw for the third round of the FAI Umbro Intermediate is as follows: Crumlin United v Cockhill Celtic, Letterkenny Rovers v St Francis, Swilly Rovers v UCD AFC, UCC v Swords Celtic; Youghal United FC/Leeds AFC v Malahide United; Killester United FC v Drumcondra FC; Dublin University v St Mochtas; Belgrove/Home Farm v Temple United/College Corinthians; Skerries Town v Leixlip United; Ringmahon Rangers/Castleview v Greystones AFC/Tolka Rovers; Rockmount AFC/Everton v Douglas Hall AFC/Avondale United; Casement Celtic v Bluebell United; Blarney United/Tramore Athletic v Mallow United/Carrigaline United; Mayfield United v Greystones United; Phoenix v St Mary’s/Fermoy; St Patrick’s CY v Glenville FC. Fixture to be played week-ending December 1, 2013