The FAI Cup first round begins on Friday night as several underdogs plot some scalps in the middle of the European season.

Two of the most intriguing of the 16 ties take place tonight.

Last year's runners-up Shamrock Rovers host in-form Galway United at Tallaght Stadium.

The Hoops are not playing European football this week due to a bye in the Europa Conference League so they shouldn’t need to rest too many players, while United will see it as a situation where they have little to lose.

Manager Stephen Bradley has acknowledged this could be a potential banana skin against promotion-chasing United.

He said: "It’s a really difficult game. I've watched their last few games. They're doing really well. We know John Caulfield is a top manager, and he'll have them right at it.

"They'll come with no fear, it's a free shot for Galway, and we've got to be ready for that.

"We've got to respect that, and make sure that we give Galway the respect we gave Slovan and the respect we gave Derry, because anything less will give Galway a right chance of winning the game."

Meanwhile down the road in Inchicore, another competent First Division side, Bray Wanderers take on St Patrick’s Athletic.

The Saints are gearing up for a tilt at the league title and sit level on points with the Hoops at the moment ahead of a meeting in seven days.

This week the focus is on the Cup and trying to repeat the long-awaited success in 2014.

Saints head coach Stephen O'Donnell has been looking ahead to the game: "We were beaten in the first round of it last year against Finn Harps away, so we are treating this game as serious as any other league game.

"Bray are a good team, they've some very good individuals that can hurt you, so we are under no illusions that we are going to have to play well to get into the next round."

O'Donnell has lots of FAI Cup experience and knows that the day out in November can bring.

"The end goal is to get to the final which is the biggest domestic day in our calendar. You get to play at the Aviva Stadium, which is huge occasion for both sets of fans and obviously to play on a surface like that in an arena like that is something that every player wants to do so that's the end goal."

Elsewhere a resurgent Waterford FC will be wary of an upset as they travel to play Athlone Town.

Mark Bircham has a small squad and knows the focus has to be on their pursuit of Finn Harps in the league, while Town are in the mix for the play-off positions.

Shelbourne will fancy their chances of a run in the Cup due to the hugely impressive league form that is very likely to bring Premier Division football back to Tolka Park next season. They face a tricky game against fellow promotion hopeful UCD.

Wexford have had a forgettable season but will hope to raise some spirits in the Cup at home to Cabinteely.

Keith Foy (left) as a Republic of Ireland underage international alongside, David McMahon, Thomas Butler, Jim Goodwin and John O'Shea. Foy has led Kilnamanagh on a charge through the Leinster Senior League

Keith Foy, a former member of Brian Kerr’s famous Under-16 side who became champions of Europe, is in charge of south Dublin side Kilnamanagh and they will be favourites to overcome fellow non-league Dublin side St Kevin’s Boys.

The other non-league tie on the night sees Maynooth University Town host Malahide United.

The draw threw up just one all Premier Division tie with Drogheda United against Derry City facing off tomorrow.

On Sunday, Treaty United play the biggest game of their short existence as holders Dundalk visit the Market's Field.

The Lilywhites have a big European game next week in Estonia and know they can't treat this game lightly due to the remarkable job done by Tommy Barrett this season.

College Corinthians of Cork have a real glamour tie against Bohemians in Turner's Cross. Bohs will likely name a much if not totally changed XI due to their European commitments.

Finally, another Turner's Cross outfit, Cork City, travel to Sligo Rovers.

Colin Healy's side have disappointed in the league and while it would be considered a huge upset if they were to win, the Bit O' Red need to shake off their recent European and domestic woes.

Click here for all the FAI Cup fixtures.