Image: Brian Hutchinson and David Sanderson from uhlsport announce the partnership agreement with the Irish FA.

Sporting goods manufacturer uhlsport has become the official match ball supplier to the Clearer Water Irish Cup.

Under a partnership agreement with the Irish Football Association, uhlsport will provide match balls each season to teams competing from the fifth round stage onwards in Northern Ireland’s premier cup competition.

And the company will also create a ball that is unique to each Irish Cup Final.

Melanie Steinhilber from uhlsport said: “We are thrilled to be the official match ball supplier for the Clearer Water Irish Cup. This partnership symbolises our commitment to fostering local talent and contributing to the rich history and tradition of football in Northern Ireland.”

Stephen Bogle, Head of Sales and Marketing at the Irish FA, said: “We’re excited to welcome uhlsport as an associate partner of the Clearer Water Irish Cup as the official match ball supplier.”

“Working with the uhlsport team we’ll be developing themes for a ball that will be unique to each Clearer Water Irish Cup Final.

“Uhlsport has been working closely with our colleagues in NIFL for seven years now so we’re delighted to be able to support local teams with a consistent match ball experience across both domestic and cup competitions.”

First contested in 1881, the Irish FA Challenge Cup (commonly known as the Irish Cup) is the fourth oldest national cup competition in the world.

At the fifth round stage each season the 12 teams that make up the NIFL Premiership and the 12 teams in the NIFL Championship are joined by eight intermediate sides who battle their way through four rounds to reach that stage.