Samuel Gelston’s Irish Whiskey Irish Cup fifth round

Crusaders begin the defence of their Irish Cup title with a home tie against Dergview today
Crusaders begin the defence of their Irish Cup title with a home tie against Dergview today

Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup fifth round (3pm unless stated)

Ballinamallard United v Glenavon

The Mallards had former Manchester United goalkeeper and Fermanagh native Rory Carroll turn out for them at the age of 45 last week, only for the ex-Northern Ireland international to suffer an injury. Carroll was drafted in due to an injury crisis at the club and that could scupper their chances of causing an upset against the 2016 cup winners.

Finalists in 2019, the Co Fermanagh side currently sit eighth in the Lough 41 Championship, well off the promotion pace so might relish a cup run but without a win since the end of November, form is against them and Gary Hamilton's men should advance.

Verdict: Glenavon

Odds: H: 11/2D: 10/3 A: 4/11

Ballyclare Comrades v Dollingstown

Unbeaten in the Championship since November 5, Ballyclare's promotion push has been hampered by eight draws. They welcome Premier Intermediate side Dollingstown to Dixon Park who started this year's competition way back in August with a first round win over Larne Tech OB. Dollingstown have also had navigate ties against Lisburn Rangers, Comber Rec and Windmill Stars to get to this point but this may be a step too far for the Co Down team.

Verdict: Ballyclare

Odds: H: 4/7 D: 3/1 A: 10/3

Bangor v Tandragee Rovers

Bangor have already secured silverware this season in the form of the Steel and Sons Cup following their win over Dunmurry Rec in the final on Christmas Eve. Sitting second in Premier Intermediate league, a point off the lead with two games in hand, it's shaping up to be a great season for Lee Feeney's men. Cup winners in 1993 and runners-up a year later, Bangor might fancy a run in this year's competition and they can kick it off with a win over Mid Ulster League side Tandragee Rovers who accounted for Oxford Sunnyside in the last round.

Verdict: Bangor

Odds: H: 1/4 D: 9/2 A: 13/2

Carrick Rangers v Ballymena United

Ballymena suffered excruciating heartbreak in last year's final, conceding an injury time equaliser to Crusaders before the north Belfast side snatched it in the last minute of extra-time. They are involved in the only all-Premiership tie of the round against Carrick Rangers. The Braidmen won the league meeting the sides at the Loughview Arena in November and can double up in the cup today.

Verdict: Ballymena

Odds: H: 2/1 D: 23/10 A: 11/10

Coleraine v Loughgall

Loughgall might fancy an upset, especially after their in over Glenavon in the BetMcLean League Cup earlier this season. However, despite the Co Armagh sitting top of the Championship, they have just one win in their last five games. The Bannsiders, cup winners in 2018, come into the game off the back of a goalless draw with Linfield and a St Stephen's Day win over Ballymena. With Matthew Shevlin in fine scoring form, the Premiership side should advance.

Verdict: Coleraine

Odds: H: 1/5 D: 5/1 A: 8/1

Crusaders v Dergview

Winners of the cup in dramatic fashion last year, the Crues begin their defence against the Championship's bottom team. The Co Tyrone club may have their mind on league safety and Stephen Baxter's men should book their place in the sixth round without too much bother.

Verdict: Crusaders

Odds: H: 1/20 D: 9/1 A: 16/1

Institute v Annagh United

An opportunity for a Championship team to book a place in the sixth round with Annagh United probably the best place to do so.

They sit second in the table, with four wins from their last five games, they only missed out on promotion to the Premiership following play-off defeat to neighbours Portadown last year.

Verdict: Annagh United

Odds: H: 2/1 D: 12/1 D: 21/20

Knockbreda v St Mary's YC (1.30pm)

St Mary's YC are one of the lowest ranked team left in this year's competition. They ply their trade in the Intermediate A division of the Mid Ulster League and travel to Breda Park plotting an upset. The home side, second from bottom of the Championship, are struggling for form but should have too much for their junior opponents.

Verdict: Knockbreda

Larne v Crumlin United

Runners-up to Linfield two years ago, it's hard to believe Larne have never won the Irish Cup. Sitting on top of the Danske Bank Premiership, they may have their focus elsewhere, but a home draw against Northern Amateur League opposition in Crumlin United may be the ideal way to kick off a lengthy cup run.

Verdict: Larne

Odds: H: 1/33 D: 12/1 A: 20/1

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

Linfield have appeared in 64 Irish Cup finals and won 44 of them, the most recent in 2021. Having recovered their league form, culminating in their St Stephen's Day win over Glentoran, David Healy's men are hitting form just at the right time. That's bad news for Warrenpoint and Barry Gray. He was Cliftonville manager in 2018 when they last reached the final, but has since returned to his home club where he has a tough job on his hands engineering a return to the top flight.

Verdict: Linfield

Odds: H: 1/12 D: 7/1 A: 14/1

Moyola Park v Glentoran

After hosting Linfield in the League Cup in September, Moyola Park welcome Glentoran to Mill Meadow. They were on the receiving end of 5-1 against the Blues and although the Glens have hit a poor patch of form in the league of late, they should comfortably advance.

Verdict: Glentoran

Odds: H: 14/1 D7/1 A: 1/12

Newington v Ballymoney United

Last year's Premier Intermediate champions Newington are just about holding their own in the Championship this season but will welcome the distraction of this home cup tie against Ballymoney United of the Ballymena & Provincial Football League.

Verdict: Newington

Odds: H: 1/3 D: 10/3 A: 13/2

Newry City AFC v H&W Welders

Semi-finalist last year, albeit as a result of Glentoran's registration issue, Newry won three of the four meetings with the Welders in last year's Championship but the visitors will fancy their chances of pulling off a shock at the Showgrounds, having won there last season. They have won four of their last five in the league following a poor start, and defeated league leaders Loughgall on Monday.

Verdict: H&W Welders

Odds: H: 1/2 D: 3/1 A: 4/1

Portadown v Banbridge Town

The Premiership's bottom club have rallied in recent weeks under new manager Niall Currie and can further boost their morale with a win over Mid Ulster rivals Banbridge Town.

Verdict: Portadown

Odds: H: 2/9 D: 5/1 A: 13/2

Dungannon Swifts v Ards

Ards have fallen off the pace in the Championship promotion push but will feel they can cause an upset at Stangmore Park against a Dungannon who are second from bottom of the Premiership.

Verdict: Ards

Odds: H: 2/5 D: 7/2 A: 9/2