Enniskillen Rangers and NFC Kesh are both preparing themselves to play their respective Junior Cup semi-finals in the coming weeks.

The clubs have been contacted by the IFA who informed them of their intention to complete the competition and dates of July 20 and July 21 have been mooted for the semi-finals if venues can be confirmed for the ties with the final the following week.

Kesh are to play a talented Willowbank side in their semi-final while Rangers, who are hoping to land an unprecedented fourth Junior Cup on the trot, come up against Bessbrook United in the last four.

Kesh boss Scott Robinson says that his players are looking forward to the challenge.

“The IFA are hoping to play the games on the week starting July 20 but I think they are still trying to sort out venues. It is great for the boys that there is a rough date for it and they are hopefully going to have their chance to get to the final.

“No matter what decision the Fermanagh and Western made on finishing the season we always knew that our season wasn’t over as we knew that the IFA were keen to finish the Junior Cup. It probably doesn’t give you a lot of time to prepare but it’s the same for the four teams and it is an opportunity to get to the final and that’s all you want.

“We are back training a couple of weeks now with as much an eye on next season as the Junior Cup but the Junior is first and hopefully we will be able to get a performance on the night,” said Robinson.

Kesh are the only side of the four remaining that didn’t reach the same stage of last year’s competition and Robinson knows his side face a big test if they are to progress to the decider if the game does eventually go ahead.

“You have to have great respect for the other three teams, they were all in the semi-finals last year as well so they have that experience to fall back on and we know that Willowbank are a very good side but we will fear nobody and the boys are mad to get at it.

“We would hope to arrange a friendly if we can but if not we will just keep training away and be as ready as we can for it,” he commented.

Michael Kerr’s ‘Gers are the current kingpins of Junior football in Northern Ireland and he is aiming to have his side as best prepared as they can for a possible semi-final against Bessbrook United.

“We are in a situation that we are going to prepare for a game and if it goes ahead it goes ahead. I would rather be prepared for a game that doesn’t go ahead than not prepared for a game that does.

“We’ve had no confirmation of a date yet but I’m planning that there will be a semi-final of the Junior Cup before the end of July and from my point of view as the manager of Enniskillen Rangers we will have three weeks maximum, possibly two, to get as close as we possibly can to 100 percent. We won’t get to 100 percent in that length of time but we want to give ourselves the chance to be as close as we possibly can be for the semi-final of a Junior Cup.

“The boys obviously haven’t played football in so long so they will be chomping at the bit for the game,” he said.

The sides met at the same stage in last year’s competition in a tie Bessbrook won but were subsequently dismissed from the competition for playing an ineligible player and Rangers restored. Indeed, the ‘Gers made the most of their reprieve by going on to beat Tummery Athletic in the final.

That will no doubt be a motivating factor for Bessbrook but Kerr says that his side will only be focusing on this year and not looking back.

“Everybody knows what happens 12 months ago in that game, we were beaten but they played an ineligible player and it probably adds a bit of extra spice.

“Our sole focus though isn’t on last year it is on this year and trying to prove that we had an off night that night in Loughgall last year and we want to make sure that we show the best of ourselves this time around. I feel if we play to our potential we will win the game,” he said.

Becoming the first team to win four in a row is an obvious motivation for Kerr and his players but he stresses that they are only concentrating on the semi-final.

“We would love to be the first team to win it four times in a row but that’s a million miles away as far as I’m concerned, for us, all we are concentrating on is a semi-final and if we get through that then we can look to that.

“The bottom line is that we are not in a final,” he added.