STRABANE Athletic kick off their competitive season with a first round Tennents Irish Cup tie against Derriaghy CC at the Melvin Sports Complex.
The visitors play in the Northern Amateur League and should provide a good test for an Athletic side which has completed an encouraging pre-season. That included reaching the final of the Lifford Celtic Busby Memorial Cup in which the North Tyrone men were defeated 3-2 by Letterkenny Rovers on Sunday.
It was the second year in a row that Rovers got the better of Eamon Curry’s men with both teams fielding sides that included players with Irish League and League of Ireland experience. After a few missed chances it was Athletic who took the lead when Kyle Harte followed up a good run by Tom Carlin with a superb shot from the right edge of the box. Harte then turned provider minutes later when he found Sean Ferry who finished well from close range.
Strabane were approaching half time in a very strong position but defensive indecision either side of the interval allowed Darren McElwaine and Christy Conaghan to restore parity for the Donegal team.A tense final quarter of the game was heading for penalties but Letterkenny produced a nice passing move which allowed man of the match Conor Tourish to score a fine winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
A spokesperson for Strabane Athletic congratulated Letterkenny Rovers on their win and thanked Lifford Celtic for organising the tournament. Athletic also thanked those who turned out to support them in all of
the cup games.
Neighbouring Ardstraw are also at home when Ivan Sproule’s team entertains Dromore Amateurs in the Irish Cup at Vaughan’s Holm.
Both ties kick-off at 1.30pm.