A review of the Welsh Cup first round draw

Sandy Malone (centre – third from left or third from right) caused some huge cup upsets as manager of Llandudno Amateurs. Can he do the same with Llanelwy Athletic?

Whatever floats your boat in North Wales football, I am sure many of you will agree few things get the butterflies fluttering quite like the Welsh Cup draws.

The earlier rounds are the best as there are more teams involved from across the pyramid and a fair chance exists of a David or two landing a Goliath.

The draw for the first round proper is almost as good as it gets.

Teams from lower divisions who have battled through the qualifying rounds harbour hopes of a big tie against a Tier 2 Cymru North side.

Monday’s first round draw saw three tier 5 sides from the north involved – Caergybi, Llanelwy Athletic and Llannerchymedd.

Llannerchymedd (green) are off to a flyer. Picture: JOHN ELFRYN OWEN

The latter team were due to host CPD Bangor 1876 in the second qualifying round last Saturday, but the fan-owned tier 4 club had to cancel due to a Covid case in the squad.

Unfortunately, under the current rules any club unable to play a tie for that reason has to forfeit the game.

A ridiculous rule. I mean, it is totally unfair for a club to be expelled from a competition for something which is not their fault.

We’re still in a pandemic and Covid cases can strike anywhere. A football club does not deserve to be punished in such circumstances.

If a team fields an ineligible player, brings on too many substitutes or scratches from a tie as half their players are at a wedding then fair enough – throw them out.

But giving a team the boot because of an illness is totally out of order.

That is the rule, however, regardless of how daft it is so it looks like curtains for 1876, even though they have submitted a protest to Cardiff.

It seems the FAW have already decided there is to be no second chance for 1876 by putting Llannerchymedd straight into round one.

Medd face a trip to tier 3 Llandudno Albion in the next stage. The Anglesey side have started the season really well and are capable of giving Albion a test, but the Maesdu men are renowned cup fighters and must be strong favourites to progress.

As for Llanelwy Athletic, their manager Sandy Malone is no stranger to cup upsets!

Back in 2018-19, his former side Llandudno Amateurs produced a massive shock by winning 5-2 at Greenfield from two levels above.

Fifth tier Llanelwy take on tier 3 opponents in the Welsh Cup round one in the shape of mid-Wales side Berriew.

A tough proposition for sure for the North Wales Coast East Division One outfit, but they cannot be under-estimated.

The third T5 qualifier for the first round, North Wales Coast West Division One side Caergybi, have landed a plum tie against tier 3 Cefn Albion, winners of the 2018-19 FAW Trophy.

Dale Moffat’s Holyhead-based team will be massive underdogs for this one as Cefn are loaded with class.

Caergybi have got through two rounds of the Welsh Cup at the first attempt. Picture: TREVOR OWEN

Nonetheless, to defy massive odds in cups you need match-winners, and Caergybi have them in young goal-machine Louis Chapman and the multi-talented Gary-Jo Owen. With players like that in your side you always have a chance.

Getting this far in the Welsh Cup means an awful lot to Moffat and his men. They will see the Albion game as the biggest by miles in their short existence and with home advantage will fancy themselves to destroy the script.

So, what other ties stand out?

Buckley Town of the Cymru North versus Mold Alex from the T3 Ardal Northern has the makings of a classic Flintshire derby.

All Cymru North battles, Holywell Town v Gresford Athletic and Llangefni Town v Ruthin Town could go either way.

Llanfairfechan Town of the tier 4 North Wales Coast Premier Division might back themselves to cause visitors Llanrwst United from a league above a few problems.

And what about Llanuwchllyn v Denbigh Town? Tie of the round?

How will Llanuwchllyn deal with the threat of Denbigh Town’s Mark Roberts, who scored five at Rhuddlan in the second qualifying round. Picture: ROY GUNTHER

Denbigh hit 12 at Rhuddlan on Saturday, but it is likely to be much harder away to fellow Ardal North West campaigners Llanuwchllyn.

Porthmadog were too strong for Mountain Rangers in QR2, but next up visitors Llanberis could provide a closer contest at Y Traeth.

CPD Y Rhyl 1879 will relish the opportunity to host higher-ranked tier 3 opponents in Rhydymwyn – another tie to definitely keep an eye on.

And an all-Ardal North West showdown between Saltney Town and Y Felinheli could also end up one of the games of the round.

Bodedern Athletic v Llandyrnog United brings back memories to us more senior fans of some great NWCFA Junior Cup battles between the pair in the 1990’s, although the islanders were known as just Bodedern then.

Two very smart managers will go head-to-head in this one – Boded’s Ricky Williams and Dyrny’s Jimmy McNally.

Athletic are such a danger to anyone they come across because of the amount of goals in the side via the likes of Marc Evans, Asa Thomas and Casey Gregg.

Will Mel McGinness be a major danger to Rhos Aelwyd when they visit Holyhead Hotspur?. Picture: CHRIS WILLZ PHOTOGRAPHY AND FILM

Holyhead Hotspur will need to be on their guard when tier 3 outfit Rhos Aelwyd visit the New Stadium. Like a few Wrexham area sides, Rhos are difficult to shift in the cups, as their form in recent years proves.

All-in-all some belting ties and it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility that we might witness an upset or two on the weekend of August 13-15.

JD WELSH CUP FIRST ROUND DRAW – NORTHERN

Bodedern Athletic v Llandyrnog United
Bow Street v Llanidloes Town
Brymbo v Llansantffraid Village
Buckley Town v Mold Alex
Caergybi v Cefn Albion
Caersws v Rhostyllen
Holyhead Hotspur v Rhos Aelwyd
Holywell Town v Gresford Athletic
Llandudno v Llay Welfare
Llandudno Albion v CPD Llannerchymedd
Llangefni Town v Ruthin Town
Llanelwy Athletic v Berriew
Llanfair United v CPD Penrhyndeudraeth
Llanfairfechan Town v Llanrwst United
Llanuwchllyn v Denbigh Town
Porthmadog v CPD Llanberis
CPD Y Rhyl 1879 v Rhydymwyn
Saltney Town v Y Felinheli
Ties to be played August 13-15

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