Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Ireland: Cross-Border tournament to begin sixth edition

Posted in European Football, UK Football by peterbein on February 12, 2011

Setanta Sports CupThe sixth edition of the all-Ireland Setanta Sports Cup, named after the Irish sports station, kicks off on Monday with an expanded tournament and a different format. Twelve teams will compete, six from Northern Ireland’s Carling Premiership and six from the Airtricity League in the Republic of Ireland, with four of those teams – Crusaders, Glentoran, Shamrock Rovers and Sligo Rovers – given a bye into the quarter-finals.

At the beginning of the tournament the clubs from Northern Ireland are well into their domestic season with every team having played nearly thirty games of the Premiership campaign. At the time of writing Linfield FC lead the Carling Premiership by ten points from Crusaders and appear to be the team most equipped from Northern Ireland to take the honours in the cross-border competition. Linfield, far and away the most decorated team from Northern Ireland, were the inaugural winners of this event in 2005 and will hope to begin this campaign with a victory over Dundalk in the first round. Traditionally this competition favours the clubs from the Republic of Ireland who have won each of the four tournaments played since 2006. Current champions Bohemians FC of Dublin, who defeated local neighbours Saint Patrick’s Athletic in last season’s final, begin the defence of their title with a tie against a struggling Portadown side on February 21st but they, like all sides from the south of the Emerald Isle, have yet to fulfil a fixture in their own domestic championship which doesn’t begin until March 4th.

Instead of group stages, the tournament is now embracing a straight knockout system with each round consisting of two legs until the final which will be played as a single match in May.

SETANTA SPORTS CUP – 1st Round Draw

Linfield FC v Dundalk

University College Dublin v Lisburn Distillery

Bohemians v Portadown

Cliftonville v St Patrick’s Athletic

The top two fixtures to be played on February 14th and 28th. The bottom two fixtures to be played on February 21st and March 1st.


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