The BetMcLean Cup is heating up with four quarter-final ties tonight as the road to the final continues, we look ahead to all the action.
Cliftonville v Newry City (venue: Solitude; kick-off: 7.45pm)
The holders are at home as Cliftonville continue the defence of their trophy which they won in dramatic fashion against Coleraine in March. Paddy McLaughlin’s Reds had defeated both HW Welders and Carrick Rangers in the previous rounds without conceding a goal as they look to add the famous trophy to the Solitude trophy cabinet for a seventh time.
Darren Mullen’s Newry City side will look for more luck than their recent 4-0 league defeat at the North Belfast venue. They’ve narrowly defeated both Limavady United and Ballyclare Comrades to reach the last eight of the competition but will need a big performance if they are to have aspirations of lifting the trophy for the first time in their history.
Coleraine v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Coleraine Showgrounds, kick-off: 7.45pm)
Oran Kearney’s Bannsiders have been regulars in the latter stages of the competition in recent seasons and will be looking to pave a way to the final to avenge last season’s defeat to Cliftonville in extra time. Coleraine defeated derby rivals Ballymena United in the last rounds and go into this game off the back of a comfortable 4-0 win against Portadown on Saturday.
Memories of Dungannon Swifts’ famous 2018 victory in the BetMcLean Cup Final still remain fresh at Stangmore Park, but now Dean Shiels’ new generation of Swifts will look to make their mark in the competition. They needed extra time to overcome relegation rivals Portadown last month and will also still be hurting from a 5-0 drubbing from the Bannsiders at home back in September.
Linfield v Annagh United (venue: Windsor Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
The competition’s most successful club are looking to put their inconsistent league form behind them as Annagh United visit Windsor Park. David Healy’s men currently reside in sixth place in the Premiership but got back to winning ways on Saturday against Newry City. The two sides last met in the Irish Cup in 2021, with the Blues winning 2-0 thanks to goals from Andy Waterworth and Shayne Lavery.
Annagh United are one of two Championship clubs still in the competition, and currently occupy second place in the second tier but are without a win in three games after Saturday’s shock defeat to Dergview at Darragh Park. The Portadown based side caused arguably the biggest shock of the second round as they defeated Premiership title chasers Larne at the BMG Arena.
Loughgall v Glentoran (venue: Lakeview Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
It’s top of the Championship against top of the Premiership tonight at Lakeview Park as Loughgall host Glentoran in the last eight of the BetMcLean Cup. The Villagers have been in sparkling form this season and have amassed a seven point lead at the top of the second tier following their 6-1 win against Ards on Saturday. Dean Smith’s side were also one of the big winners in the previous round as they caused an upset by knocking top-flight neighbours Glenavon out of the competition.
Glentoran will be travelling to County Armagh looking to keep alive an unbeaten start to the season which has seen them race to the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, after defeating Larne on Friday night. Mick McDermott’s side haven’t won the competition since 2010 and having ruthlessly defeated both Institute and Warrenpoint Town so far this season, they will have their sights set on silverware.
Also a reminder that the semi-final draw has already been made.
Cliftonville or Newry City v Coleraine or Dungannon Swifts
Loughgall or Glentoran v Linfield or Annagh United
Ties to be played on Tuesday 6 December and Wednesday 7 December 2022.