Holders Wayside Celtic will begin their quest for a Noel Ryan Cup three-in-a-row tomorrow with a tricky assignment away to Senior Division 1B side Portmarnock.
Peter Lennon's side will start as overwhelming favourites to advance against a Ports side that lie mid-table on the lowest rung of the intermediate ladder.
The Celts are in flying form at the minute. They have won seven games since the turn of the year, two in the Cahill Cup and five games on the bounce in the league, as they look to add more silverware to their ever expanding roll of honour.
It has been a remarkable turnaround for the Jackson Park club. A horrendous autumn, in which Wayside lost six out of eight games, saw the LSL champions plummet down the table and thoughts of a relegation dog fight were being considered.
That all changed since the New Year kicked off and the old adage of 'never write off Wayside' is coming into play with each passing game as the Celts make a late charge to keep hold of their Senior Division crown.
Portmarnock enter this tie on the back of a three-game winning streak in the league, their most consistent run of form of the season so far, but this could well be a challenge too far for the former FAI Junior Cup winners.
NOEL RYAN CUP first round
PORTMARNOCK v WAYSIDE CELTIC
Should be a formality for Wayside, but the Ports will want to prove to the top-flight side that they are not frightened to mix with the best.
Celtic will expect an early onslaught, but they should advance to the quarter final after a fright or two.
Verdict: Wayside Celtic.
BANGOR CELTIC v GREYSTONES
This pair has already met in cup action this season and, just like their Metro Cup meeting, Bangor should prevail.
On that occasion, the Senior Division side came out of Arch Field with a 2-0 victory and, with home advantage aiding their cause, expect Celtic to advance.
UCD v ST FRANCIS
A league separates these two and despite the Saints going well in Division 1A, UCD should be able to cope with the Baldonnel side's challenge to sneak into the last eight. Verdict: UCD.
BLUEBELL UNITED v GLENVILLE
The 'Bell should coast into the last eight against a Glenville side that sit a couple of leagues below the Red Cow club. The 'Bell beat Mount Merrion in the Cahill Cup last week and should repeat the dose tomorrow against the Ville. Verdict: Bluebell.
RATHCOOLE BOYS v TYMON CELTIC
Rathcoole have won only three games all season and currently occupy the bottom rung of the Division 1A ladder. Tymon will be smarting from a 5-1 drubbing last week at St Joseph's Boys. That was only their second league defeat of the season and they will be anxious to make amends.
The Celts currently lead the charge for the Division 1B title and are more than capable of causing an upset tomorrow. Verdict: Tymon Celtic.