Irish Cup fifth-round: Linfield drawn against Ballymena United

Ballymena's Jim Ervin battles with Andrew Waterworth on the opening day of the Premiership season in August
Linfield defeated Ballymena 4-0 on the opening day of the Premiership season in August

Linfield will face Ballymena United in the tie of the fifth round as the Premiership clubs enter this season's Irish Cup fray on 9 January.

This season's Irish Cup has been boosted by the announcement of a new five-year sponsorship for the competition by drinks brand Tennent's.

Other all-Premiership ties see Dungannon Swifts facing Warrenpoint and Coleraine up against Ballinmallard.

Holders Glentoran face an opener against Championship 1 side Ards.

Premiership champions Crusaders will face either Abbey Villa or Rathfriland Rangers with Cliftonville taking on Belfast junior outfit Immaculata.

Both Crusaders and Cliftonville will be at home for their ties against the junior clubs even though they were second out of the hat.

Linfield are in line to have another cup meeting with Ballymena United as the Blues face Carrick Rangers in the County Antrim Shield semi-final next Tuesday, with the Braidmen having already progressed to the final.

Ballymena boss Ferguson wanted to avoid Linfield

Blues boss David Healy said his side could have been handed an easier draw but added that it would be a "cup tie to look forward to".

Ballymena manager Glenn Ferguson acknowledged that he had been hoping to avoid a trip to Windsor Park.

"The last thing anybody wants is to go Seaview or Windsor Park for a cup tie but we've been drawn against Linfield and it's done and dusted," said the Ballymena boss.

"It certainly won't be easy but we've done it (beaten Linfield at Windsor Park) before and we'll take confidence from that."

Healy has endured a tough beginning to his spell in charge of the Blues as Saturday's win over Coleraine ended a run of four successive Premiership defeats.

Ferguson believes that his ex-international colleague Healy needs to be given time to put his stamp on matters at Windsor Park.

"You can't start judging people after four or six weeks. Dave will have his own ideas and his own style of play. That will take a while to settle in."

Irish Cup Fifth-Round draw

Glentoran v Ards

H&W v Glenavon

Linfield v Ballymena United

Armagh City v Portstewart or Moyola Park

Immaculata v Cliftonville (at Solitude)

Dergview or Sport & Leisure Swifts v Institute or Newtowne

Dungannon Swifts v Warrenpoint Town

Lisburn Distillery or Knockbreda v Annagh United

Portadown v Wakehurst

Crumlin Star v Oxford United Stars

Tobermore United v PSNI

Loughgall v Larne or Limavady United

Coleraine v Ballinamallard United

Lurgan Celtic v Bangor or Coagh United

Banbridge Town v Carrick Rangers

Abbey Villa or Rathfriland Rangers v Crusaders (at Seavew)