A sign that the new League of Ireland season is drawing ever nearer as the draw for the first round of the 2013 EA Sports Cup was announced.
Many will fondly remember Drogheda United’s remarkable triumph of 2012, when Eric Foley’s 61st minute effort secured a marvellous victory and tangible commemoration of a fantastic campaign for Mick Cooke’s men.
Supporters of the domestic game will be eager in anticipation of finding out where the next romantic story will come from – and it all kicked off on Wednesday, as the first round fixtures were revealed.
Last season’s winners Drogheda United were handed a bye for the first round, along with other Premier Division sides such as Cork City, Limerick, Derry City, Sligo Rovers, Bray Wanderers, St. Patrick’s Athletic and 2012 beaten finalists Shamrock Rovers.
First Division pair Wexford Youths and Salthill Devon have also been given an automatic pass to the second round.
Two non-league sides have been invited to take part in the 2013 edition of the competition to make up the numbers in the regionalised draw – namely western outfits Mayo League and Cockhill Celtic.
The first round of fixtures will take place on Monday the 11th of March, and the draw for the second round will be made immediately following its completion.
Derry City are the competition's most successful entrants, claiming the trophy a record ten times, while Dundalk and Athlone Town, with four and three wins respectively, make up the rest of the top three.
The First Round Draw is:
Waterford United v Cobh Ramblers
Byes: Cork City, Limerick and Wexford Youths
Mayo League v Finn Harps,
Mervue United v Cockhill Celtic
Byes: Derry City and Sligo Rovers
Bohemians v UCD
Byes: Bray Wanderers, St. Patrick’s Athletic and Salthill Devon
Athlone Town v Longford Town
Dundalk v Shelbourne
Byes: Drogheda United and Shamrock Rovers