Tuesday 10 December 2019

O'Brien's rare appearance a boost for Union

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Niall O'Brien, Ireland
Niall O'Brien, Ireland

NIALL O'BRIEN will make a rare appearance for Railway Union today in their RSA Irish Cup tie against Instonians.

The game at Park Avenue is the tie of the round between two teams with genuine ambitions to lift the trophy this year. Railway are without Josh Uddin, Paddy Conliffe and Mo Tariq but the return of both O'Brien brothers – captain Kevin also missed this week's league game – should go a long way towards compensating for the missing trio.

Instonians have surprisingly lost both their opening league games, but with James Shannon and Andrew White in their ranks, they can go all the way.

Merrion, targeting a fourth Irish Cup final in five years, should have a straightforward start against Muckamore, while Clontarf have been handed home advantage by Lisburn and with Andrew Poynter and Alex Cusack both available again, it could make the difference.

North County and The Hills are both at home to North West opposition, Ardmore and Glendermott respectively, and it should be just as easy for YMCA, who include Trent Johnston against Downpatrick.

Leinster head in the opposite direction to take on Fox Lodge, with Phoenix making the same journey to play Brigade, while Terenure are away to Waringstown. The two Cork clubs face difficult ties with Harlequins away to Pembroke and County at home to Donemana.

The National Cup also gets under way today, weather permitting, with Malahide and Rush heading North West to face Ballyspallen and Killyclooney respectively.

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