WITH the Irish Cup quarter-finals made up of four games between Premiership and Championship clubs, the law of averages may say that even one shock may be on the cards.

Of course, that is a far from scientific way to view this weekend’s last eight ties but there is little doubt all of those teams in the second tier of local football will be quietly confident that should things go their way, there is every chance they can do something very special.

For all of those Championship clubs, the pressure is now well and truly off as they face into their respective game’s against the Premiership’s top four, so it is a case of turning up, producing their best and seeing where the chips fall.

It’s certainly the case for Newington who may be the designated away team against Larne on Saturday afternoon (3pm), but Inver Park is far from an unfamiliar setting as this has been their home this season.

Going up against their landlords on Saturday may add extra spice, but just like the venue, the pairing in an Irish Cup quarter-final is also not unique.

Back in 2006, they met at the same stage and venue but the landscape was very different with Larne a bottom half club in the top flight, whilst Newington were then a junior outfit.

Still, The Swans were undaunted by the task and were only undone in injury-time when substitute Ross Black completed the turnaround after Liam Bradley gave Newington an early lead and Mark Dickson levelled from the penalty spot.

That was then and this is now, but there is still some lineage with Newington assistant manager, Thomas Duffy, involved in that game.

“This is the second time we’ve done it,” he said of his club’s return to the last eight.

“We played Larne and were absolutely robbed that day in the quarter-final down in Inver Park.”

They will hope it’s not a repeat this weekend when they face the East Antrim side once again.

In terms of the league, Newington are sitting in mid-table in the Championship and bounced back from a weekend defeat to Institiute with a 1-0 home win over Ards on Tuesday thanks to a goal from Ruaidhrí Donnelly.

Larne are very much in the running for back-to-back Premiership titles as they sit on top of the pile heading into the final stretch with a 3-0 win over Glentoran on Friday maintaining their lead over Linfield.

The Cup is perhaps a nice distraction for both and Newington had the look of a team liberated from any form of pressure in the previous round as they came from behind to defeat the team at the other end of the Premiership, Newry City.

The Swans fell behind against the run of play, but the acquisition of Donnelly paid off immediately as the on-loan Glentoran striker netted twice in the 2-1 win they were full value for.

It wasn’t the first time the North Belfast club have taken down a higher ranking club as the famous 1-0 win over Glentoran at The Oval in 2012 ranks as one of the biggest days in their history.

They are gunning for another one and will approach the weekend with the same hard-working approach that has got them to this point and also aided their rise through the ranks of the local game.

“These matches can sometimes be free shots against big clubs,” Duffy added after the win against Newry.

“Beating the Glens is up there as that was a major shock. This (Newry City win) wasn’t a major shock and I don’t think anybody would question that.

“We can’t ask any more from these players. These guys turn out on a Tuesday and Thursday. We’ve 20 at training every week, no excuses and they all work hard.

“If we have a bad day we get back on the horse, so we can’t question their commitment and this is a bit of a reward for them.”

The other quarter-finals will see Cliftonville head to Portadown on Friday, Glentoran host Ballyclare Comrades on Saturday and Institute welcome Linfield to The Brandywell on Sunday.