Minnows to stake place in FAI Cup limelight

THE 2004 FAI Carlsberg Cup kicks off this weekend with the 20 junior and intermediate sides all dreaming of cup glory next October.

While repeating St Francis's feat of reaching the final in 1990 would be very difficult, for all the sides involved, the chance to become giantkillers in the second round when the Eircom League clubs enter the competition is a big incentive.

Skerries Town were last year's heroes as they eliminated Longford Town while Fairview Rangers knocked out Dublin City in the previous year. At this stage, all 20 sides will be hoping to follow in those two clubs' footsteps.

But first, there are tricky first-round ties to be negotiated. There are sure to be some surprise results in what are intriguing ties.

One of the most interesting is the clash of Carrick United and Bluebell United beaten finalists in the FAI Junior Cup and Intermediate Cup respectively in Carrick on Suir on Sunday.

Moyle Park College will be hoping to reach the second round for the second year running when they meet Quay Celtic.

Drumcondra will be aiming for victory against Letterkenny Rovers. Ringmahon Rangers face CYM Terenure who are managed by Pat Byrne while the all-Dublin derby between Cherry Orchard and Glebe North is sure to be tight.

The 2003 Intermediate Cup winners Belgrove face Leeds at Tolka Park, Tullamore face a difficult encounter with Bangor Celtic while there is a clash of the beaten Junior Cup semi-finalists when Freebooters meet Portmarnock at Buckley Park.

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