Jason Gibson has happy memories of the Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup – and would love to repeat the trick with Bonagee United.
Gibson guided a success-starved Swilly Rovers to Knockalla Cup glory in 2013 and 2014, with final wins over Glengad United and Letterkenny Rovers.
His first campaign as Bonagee boss has, by and large, been encouraging.
Bonagee still have an USL League Cup semi-final to look ahead to and this weekend they begin their Knockalla bid by hosting Donegal League Premier Division outfit Castlefin Celtic at Dry Arch Park.
“It’s a good opportunity for us,” Gibson said.
“At the start of the season, the Cups were a more realistic proposition for us. If the draw goes in your favour, obviously, four wins and you could have a Cup. The League would be a bit beyond us realistically yet, but we’d be looking for a good Cup run.”
When Gibson took over at Swilly, they had to go back to 2000 for their last slice of success and it’s a competition that has been kind to the Manor man.
He said: “We won two in a row at Swilly and we had good times in it. Obviously it was a great achievement for Swilly to win some silverware.
“It’s a great competition, the Knockalla. Other than the intermediate cup, it’s the only thing that changes it up a bit and you’re looking at different opposition.
“We’re playing a team from the League below us and that brings challenges with them looking for a scalp.”
Gibson is reporting no injury concerns for the game and has recently added new faces in the form of Eugene Ferry, Chris Breen and Emmet Friel to his ranks.
He said: “It’s fallen into place that I’ll have as much bother picking my 18 of a panel as I will picking a team this weekend. That’s a great position to be in at this stage of a season.”
There is a tasty derby in Inishowen where Cockhill Celtic, the reigning USL champions, host old foes Buncrana Hearts. It is the first meeting of the sides in a number of years and is sure to attract a bumper attendance to the Charlie O’Donnell Sports Grounds.
And there is also a derby clash at the Aura Leisure Complex, where Letterkenny Rovers are hosting Swilly Rovers, while Fanad United host Inishowen League side Aileach FC. And on Monday night, Finn Harps Reserves and Derry City Reserves cross swords.
Knockalla Caravans Senior Cup, First Round (ET & pens if required)
Saturday, February 9, 7pm
Bonagee United v Castlefin Celtic
Sunday, February 10, 1.30pm
Cockhill Celtic v Buncrana Hearts
Fanad United v Aileach FC
Letterkenny Rovers v Swilly Rovers
Greencastle FC v Glenea United
Kildrum Tigers v Cappry Rovers
FC Lighthouse v Glengad United
Monday, February 11
Finn Harps Reserves v Derry City Reserves
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