Donemana look to the skies ahead of County opener

Donemana captain Richard Kee
Donemana captain Richard Kee

Donemana are among many clubs keeping their eyes on the weather ahead of Saturday’s Irish Cup first round.

Richard Kee’s men, who famously won the competition back in 2000, are due to host North County at The Holm.

It should be one of the ties of the round but after the recent wet weather, The Holm is far from alone in Ulster grounds at being at the mercy of the elements.

“If we get any more rain before Saturday then the game is going to be in trouble,” said Kee. “The place is absolutely soaking and we badly need some dry weather.

“We really want to play because it’s been frustrating to be have been without a match since we beat Brigade on the opening day.”

Andy McBrine, the Ireland international, and Tom Riddles are both back in the starting 11, and they could be joined by Jordan McGonigle if he is given the all-clear by the physio.

That means Donemana are at full strength against a North County team radically different to the one that dominated this competition in the previous decade. They have won it five times.

“For years and years they were the team to beat in this competition but I don’t know too many of their players now,” said Kee. “John (Mooney) is away to Balbriggan but Conor Armstrong is still there and still seems to be making as many runs as he always did. We know Eddie Richardson can bat and bowl well so they will give us a game no matter what.

“We really want the game to go ahead because apart from Conor, I’m not sure any of their team would have played at The Holm before and that gives us an advantage.”

Kee hopes Donemana can go deep into the later rounds of the competition, but after that crucial win against Brigade on the opening day, he identifies an overdue league challenge as a priority.

“The league is every bit as important as the cups as far as I’m concerned,” Kee added.

“It’s disappointing that we have not made a challenge in the league over the last couple of years.

“We would have expected better but we’ve made a winning start this time and if we can build on that we should be there or thereabouts.

“It’s all about building momentum, everyone knows that if we get our form going then we are hard to beat.”

Kee agrees with the consensus, that the title race should be run between Donemana, Coleraine and Brigade

“Ourselves, Coleraine and Brigade are the main teams and the team who wins it will be the team who can get a consistent run going.

“That’s very difficult in this eight-team league.”