The draw for the Sadler’s Peaky Blinder Irish Cup has thrown up a local derby with Ballinamallard United having been drawn against neighbours Dergview at Ferney Park in the first round of this year’s competition.

The game is scheduled for January 9 although doubt remains over whether the ties will go ahead on that date as only the 12 Premiership sides of the 32 teams involved in the competition have the elite status that allows them to play under current NI Executive restrictions.

However, it is understood that the IFA are seeking elite status for the Irish Cup and hope to get the action underway as originally scheduled although it would mean that as it stands those sides outside the Premiership would go into the game with no preparation at all.

It is a draw though that excites Mallards boss Harry McConkey, especially as the usual Boxing Day derby will not be played this year.

“It is a big game and an exciting draw for both clubs,” said McConkey.

“It is the derby game that we will miss on the 26th that we would normally have so it has recreated that for us and the good thing is that both teams are in the same situation in that they haven’t had a lot of football and therefore we are starting on the same level in that sense.

“We both know that no matter when those game take place and no matter what competition it is in, both sides will relish the challenge. It is always very fine margins usually between us and it took penalties to separate the sides in the North West Cup final last year,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Mallards have been looking to make the most of the time available to them before further restrictions come into place on December 26 with the Ducks having enjoyed a 6-2 win over Newbuildings last Saturday.

McConkey brought a 17 man squad to the game with goals coming from Ryan Mayse (2), Aaron Arkinson (2), Darragh McBrien and the impressive Reece Byrne.

Young goalkeeper Jamie Ray, Micheal Glynn and Byrne were among the starters for Mallards.

“We were missing the Sligo lads and people who had other commitments but it was a very good run out for us and it was just a joy to see the boys back out on the pitch and nice to see them finding the net. We had been looking to get a game in and we were just so glad that Newbuildings could accommodate us after having played Dergview during the week,” said McConkey.

The Mallards impressed in the first half as they went in at the break with a 5-0 advantage before making a raft of changes in the second half of the game.

“We dominated things in the first half and some of the quality of the goals was excellent although obviously there was some rusty parts to our play that we would know but it was a typical free season game where you are making changes and lose the flow of it then in the second half. Overall though it was a good workout for the players that travelled.”