The long-awaited semi-finals of this season’s Dixcart Railway Cup take place this evening (Tuesday).
Usually played in December ahead of its traditional final on Boxing Day, the 2022-23 competition was significantly delayed after the fixture list was disrupted because of poor weather.
This meant that the top four at the cut-off point of 12 games from the first half of the season remained unknown until the postponed matches were finally held in recent weeks.
Newly-crowned Premier League champions Peel comfortably made the cut at the halfway point and were joined in the draw by Corinthians, Union Mills and St John’s.
Tonight the Millers, who have enjoyed a highly-impressive season, make the short journey to Ballafletcher where they face FA Cup winners Corinthians, while Douglas Road will be the venue for a western derby as Peel host St John’s.
Both of the latter league meetings went the way of Peel in convincing fashion, recording a 1-4 win at Garey Mooar and a ruthless 9-1 victory at Douglas Road.
But Mills will be spearheaded by Golden Boot contender Luke Booth and will be buoyed by the fact the Peel were knocked out of the Hospital Cup by sixth-placed Laxey less than a fortnight ago.
Despite that, the home side will go into the game as favourites to progress and continue their quest to win the Railway Cup for a 22nd time in the club’s history.
The other semi-final tie should also be an interesting match and much could depend on who Corinthians are able to call upon.
Now that FC Isle of Man’s league season has finished, the Whites have been boosted by the return of several of their Ravens stars, notably Sean Doyle and Ryan Burns.
St John’s, meanwhile, have enjoyed a fine campaign and will go into the game in a confident mood having impressed against Corinthians this season.
While the latter beat the Saints 3-1 in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on their way to winning the trophy, the Johnners held the Whites to a 2-2 draw in the pair’s first league meeting and then defeated them 4-2 in the reverse meeting at Mullen-e-Cloie only a few weeks ago.
Therefore, this should be a fairly close contest and one which could well go either way.
The Railway Cup final is scheduled to take place this Saturday at the Bowl, but at the time of going to press the kick-off time is unconfirmed.
There were also two games scheduled to take place in the Canada Life Premier League this evening, but unfortunately the Ayre United v Rushen United match has been called off as the Spaniards are unable to field a team. The points have been awarded to the Tangerines.
Elsewhere, there's a huge game at the bottom of the table where two of the relegation-threatened teams, DHSOB and Onchan, go head-to-head at Blackberry Lane.
Anything less than a victory for the hosts will seal their fate in Division Two next season and even a victory for Old Boys could be rendered in vein should Marown pick up at least one point from their trip to Glen Road where they face Laxey.
In DPS Division Two, there are also two postponements after Braddan v Gymnasium and Colby v Castletown were both called off. Braddan and Town have both been awarded the points.
The one game that does go ahead in the second tier sees Foxdale entertain promotion-chasing Michael United at Billy Goat Park. A victory for the visitors would see the Aces leapfrog back above Braddan after the latter moved up to second following the aforementioned postponement.