Balbriggan’s Glebe North glamour tie with Sligo

by Dave Donnelly
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Glebe North will kick off the new season with a glamour tie at home to Sligo Rovers after the LSL Sunday Senior 1 side were paired with the five-time champions in the FAI Cup first round.

The Balbriggan side were drawn alongside the 2010, 2011 and 2013 FAI Cup winners, having reached this stage by virtue of their run to the last 16 of last season’s FAI Intermediate Cup.

Glebe management are confident they’ll be permitted to host the fixture at their Market Green home, however new UEFA criteria mean they will face an anxious wait.

However, for a young and ambitious Glebe side, a home draw against a Sligo Rovers side with a passionate fanbase and real cup pedigree was the ideal outcome.

“Coming here all we wanted to do was get one of the teams in the top league,” assistant coach Duane Crean told the Dublin Gazette.

“We wanted to avoid intermediate teams and the junior teams just because when you get this far, you want to play against the top teams.

“It’s good to play against Sligo now, who have good pedigree in the top league and cup competitions.

“Liam Buckley’s won it before with Sporting Fingal. It’ll be a good test and his brand of football is very nice as well, so we look forward to the challenge ahead.

“We’re a very young side, mixed with a little bit of experience, so it should be a good challenge.

“Liam would always have his team prepared, no matter where he goes.”

Market Green has hosted League of Ireland clubs before, most recently when Loughshinny played their first round tie with Galway United in 2004, but standards have tightened significantly since.

Nevertheless, the club’s management remain quietly confident that the ground will satisfy whatever criteria are laid down and that cup football will return to the Balbriggan.

“We’re hoping to play at home. Obviously with the new UEFA criteria, you don’t know if you’re going to be passed. The pitch is in great nick. We have our own covered stand.

“We have a lot of facilities there so we’ll just wait and see if it’ll be passed by the FAI, once they tick all the boxes on the UEFA criteria. There’s no alternative at present.”

An intriguing clash awaits Malahide United as they were drawn away to Sunday Senior champions Crumlin United in an all-Leinster Senior League tie.

Crumlin won the league undefeated last year, while Malahide were more up and down, however Crumlin captain Thomas Hyland insists it will be a very tough game.

“Before the draw was made we were talking about Malahide, saying they were going to be one of the dark horses in our league,” Hyland told the Dublin Gazette.

“It’s a tough draw. We’re happy we got the home draw but they are a very good side.

“They’ll definitely be challenging in our league. They’re a top side.”

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