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Challenge Cup about to get interesting

There may still be a few first round ties to get through but the UCFL 'Big one', the Challenge Cup will take a lot more shape over the coming weeks, weather permitting of course.

There are four outstanding ties left in the first round, while seven teams have already progressed through to the third round and are awaiting to see what's next for them.

And those opening round ties leaves some of the 'bigger' teams still looking to seal their progress through to the next round with Clontarf Athletic, cup holders Sandyford United and current Division 1 top dogs Chapelizod still yet to get going.

On the other hand, two Premier Division teams are through to the 3rd round. Joint league leaders San Marino came through their all-Premier clash with EID thanks to a comfortable 4-1 score-line.

Rathmichael are also safely through the opening two rounds with wins against St Mary's and Portmarnock AFC.

Another team through to the third round are Division 2 leaders, Shelbourne AFC, although they did it the hard way last weekend against Harding IF.

Trailing 2-0, Shels fought back to 2-2 to force extra-time and then went on to win it. And with some new players having joined their ranks recently, they will be a team the top dogs might want to avoid in round 3.

And if goals are what you are definitely looking for, then going to see Arthur Griffith Park' 2nds is the place to be.

After featuring their first round 4-3 win against Harolds Cross in The Herald, AGP 2nds produced the same result at home to Granada in the second round.

That's two Division 2 sides that AGP 2nds have sent packing already. Not bad for a side playing out of Division 3.

Also already through to the 3rd round and their wins were both featured in The Herald are Kingswood Castle and Glasnaion 2nds, while South William Street Celtic have a number in the 3rd round draw too.

But there are nine 2nd round ties still to play and there will be some very interesting ties potentially coming up.

The biggest tie of the round is still only a potential one. If Clontarf Athletic win their opening tie against FC Sportslink Ailesbury's 2nds, they will be in all-Premier tie at Arthur Griffith Park.

The all-Division 1 encounter between Orchard Celtic (2nd) and St Canice's United (3rd) should also be a cracking one to go and see.

The other Premier division sides in action will certainly be strong favourites to progress into the 3rd round.

If holders Sandyford United see of Division 2's Coolock Village in round 1, another Division 2 side, Terenure, are lying in wait.

FC Sportslink Ailesbury's Premier side are at home to Shelbourne SSC (Div 2), while Glasnaion's Premier side are on their travels to another Division 2 side, Aston Village.

It's great for the cup though that some lower division teams will progress into the next round no matter who wins their second round clashes.

Division 2 AFC Belgrave play Division 3 Booterstown United and Division 3B's Shankill host division 2A side, Ardmore Rovers.

So we have plenty to look forward too over the coming weeks and I'm sure there will be even more shocks on the cards.