The Toals Co Antrim Shield last-16 gets played to a finish on Tuesday night. After a couple of shock upsets already this season in the Irish Cup competitions, it would be foolish to dismiss the claims of those facing the top-division sides. Calum Leitch looks ahead to the action.
All six Premiership sides have home advantage in the Toals Co Antrim Shield and there’s also an all-Championship affair between recently relegated Carrick Rangers and league favourites Larne.
In the other non-Premiership tie Ballyclare, who have made a sparkling start in the Championship, host Newington. The Intermediate side lost narrowly away at Ards in the League Cup earlier this season.
Linfield have started the season impressively, conceding just one goal so far. They host PSNI, who got back to winning ways against Carrick last weekend. The two teams have met a few times in recent memory and drew 1-1 in a pre-season friendly this year.
Knockbreda will hold no fears against a Crusaders team who made a slow start to the season. H&W Welders have history against last season’s finalists Ballymena in cup competitions, losing 3-0 in last years’ Toals Co Antrim Shield. They’ve also faced the Sky Blues three times in the last five years in the Irish Cup, drawing twice in regulation time.
Ronnie McFall’s Glentoran will have their work cut out against a young QUB side. They were impressive in winning the Intermediate Cup last season.
The fancied upset on paper might be Dundela who have made a blistering start to the season but lost their 100% record against Larne on Saturday. The Wilgar Park side have been scoring for fun and gave Crusaders a real run for their money last year on their way to a famous League and Cup double.
They’ll quietly fancy their chances but Ards have had two very creditable draws with Linfield and Coleraine. They also beat Newry 4-0 the week before. Dundela will have to be in the same form if they are to breach an Ards defence that has kept three clean sheets on the bounce.
Outright betting is available with Linfield favourites to regain the Shield they lost last season. Match betting for all eight games is also available: