The Irn Bru Cup introduced by the Scottish Football Association has added teams from across the UK & Ireland to come compete and has lead to some incredibly strange ties, one undoubtedly being the small Aberdeenshire side of Formartine United facing the reigning champions of the Irish Cup.
It was only this summer that Coleraine were playing in the acclaimed European competition the UEFA Europa League against high flying Serbian side Spartak Subotica, narrowly exiting after a disappointing second leg result. Coleraine were champions of the Irish Cup for the first time since 2003 and came out of a narrow title race with leading Northern Irish side Linfield.
Now they faced a home tie against this, what must have seemed, completely unknown tie against a club playing in the 5th tier of Scottish Football (the Highland League) and must’ve subtly been expecting a walkover.
Formartine United however had other plans.
They were coming out of a season finishing 2nd in the Highland League and boasted a strong squad including former Scottish Premiership players. Such a tie must’ve seemed preposterous to the Pitmedden based club who often traveled to such infamous games as Forres Mechanics and Inverurie Loco Works. However, they faced the Irish Cup champions. Paid professionals.
Coming into the tie, the media had no idea as to how the tie would turn out. On paper, Coleraine are the professionals and would be expected to breeze past a club playing 5 tiers below the Scottish Premiership. When the occasion came, Coleraine quickly brought the tie to the pros making it 1-0 in under 20 minutes. Formartine swiftly equalized bringing the score back to 1-1, which it remained at until fulltime.
Penalties came and Formartine were knocked out of the cup with Coleraine progressing. At this point, the Highland League outfit realized the achievement they had made and brought a close game to a professional club who have been appearing in European competition for the past 2 seasons.
This was truly an occasion for Formartine United to proudly boast in their history since the clubs foundation in 1948 and a result that the entire community can be proud of. The Irn Bru Cup has brought some truly interesting ties.