The Kukri Ulster Rugby Championship Division 3 league takes a back seat this week as the Gordon West Cup takes centre stage.
Holders Cavan face a big ask to keep their hands on the trophy while, for the second week in a row, 2016 winners Lurgan travel to Strabane in an eagerly awaited tie.
Cavan (Holders) v Donaghadee
1st Round Cavan Bye
1st Round BHSFP 5 Donaghadee 36
Cup Wins: Cavan 1. 2017. Donaghadee. 0
County Cavan RFC created a bit of history last year in winning this competition for the first-time. Just like last year they have struggled for consistency in the league and they may be feeling a little frustrated that they haven’t progressed in the league as well as they could have.
Home advantage may be a bonus but Donaghadee will have too much experience for the Breffni lads as they look for their first GW cup triumph.
Donegal Town v Holywood
1st Round Donegal Town Bye
1st Round Holywood Bye
Cup Wins: Donegal Town 0. Holywood 1. 2013/14.
Neither side has had much to shout about this season. Donegal Town’s fate was sealed last week and will play in the Junior League next season while Holywood look to have done just enough to avoid a relegation play-off.
Holywood would be expected to prevail in this one but wouldn’t be expected to be climbing the steps of the Kingspan Stadium in April.
Newry v Monaghan
1st Round Newry 31 Virginia 0
1st Round Monaghan 38 Letterkenny 0
Cup Wins. Newry 0. Monaghan 1. 2012/13
Monaghan are enjoying a very fine season and would be fancied by a few to upset the one of the big two if they ever get the chance. And who would rule that out from happening when you look at the history of this competition.
Newry would fancy their chances against anyone at Telford Park, but back in September Monaghan left the Miltown Road venue with a bonus point win. Monaghan are playing with great confidence at the minute and their great form should continue at the foot of the Mournes.
Strabane v Lurgan
1st Round Civil Service 0 Strabane 41
1st Round Lurgan Bye.
Cup Wins Strabane 0. Lurgan 2. 1999/00, 2015/16.
A repeat of the first ever Gordon West Cup final from 2000 which went the way of the Pollock Park side. They will be favourites to prevail in this tussle too after winning at the same venue last week 29-0. This was Lurgan’s second bonus point win over the Tyrone outfit this season and it’s hard to see a Strabane side struggling for form upsetting the league leaders in this one too.
With nothing to lose against the cup favourites they will no doubt throw their lot into the battle, but Lurgan should march into the semi-finals. Just maybe not as convincing as last week.