Newtowne are facing off with North West side Institute this Saturday as they hope to repeat last year’s heroics in the Irish Cup.
Regardless of the possibility of a trip to Solitude or Windsor Park, Newtowne coach Mickey Burns knows the significance that Saturday’s tie at Drumahoe has for the local club.
Currently playing their football in the fourth tier of the football league, the opportunity to examine their worth against Championship opposition in the prestigious Irish Cup is such a huge step in the right direction for the Limavady team.
And it’s the second year running, Newtowne find themselves in such a position.
Last year the Intermediate side put up an excellent showing in the cup, reaching the fifth round before they eventually were beaten by Championship side Armagh City.
“I have been trying to make that clear to the lads,” said Newtowne’s manager Mickey Burns. “It’s no fluke finding us this far along in the cup two years in a row.
“Getting to the fourth round of the Irish Cup is such a huge achievement for the club. It’s what we play for. These types of games add such an extra incentive for the boys.
“You could tell last year when we got to the fifth round the whole town was lifted by our performance. We will be hoping to relive that excitement this weekend and give a good account of ourselves in Derry.
Newtowne know it will be no picnic at the Riverside on Saturday however. The sheer step up in calibre could prove daunting for the young team Mickey has brought together.
“Institute are one of, if not the biggest club in the North West, and although we are a North West side we rarely get to play around these parts. We will be turning up on Saturday hoping to show the people of Derry what we are made of,” he added.
“We are obviously massive underdogs but that puts the pressure on Institute big time.”
Kevin Deery’s Institute side have struggled to find form in this year’s Championship. They have however shown their worth this season in cup competitions. The same side travelled to Seaview and put four goals past Premiership champions Crusaders knocking them out of the third round of the League Cup in October. A stark reminder of what this Institute team are capable of when they put their minds to it.
“It’s kind of a reversal for us, we have been fairly dominant this year at an Intermediate level, you know, we can turn up, intimidate teams and control the pace of the game fairly comfortably. We know on Saturday we will have a fight on our hands for every ball.
“We know that any mistake or slip up we could well be punished for.
“Saturday will be all about giving a good account of ourselves.
“Playing at Drumahoe is such a great platform for the boys to go and show their worth.
“We know that Institute are going to make us work harder than usual on Saturday but this is what we train for at the end of the day.
“We’ve said to the lads to go out and enjoy the experience as much as possible, and I’m hoping that I’ll enjoy it too.”