We continue the season review into October as there was a power shift at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership, four clubs remained in the League Cup and a increase of attendance in women's football.
October kicked off with the blockbuster first live Friday Night Football broadcast on BBC Two NI between Crusaders and Linfield at Seaview as Rory Hale’s goal sealed all the points for the table topping Crues in an important early season fixture, on the same night there were big wins for Cliftonville and Larne. On the Saturday, Warrenpoint finally picked up first win against Dungnanon Swifts at Milltown in dramatic fashion.
In the following round of fixtures, Ballymena United’s erratic start to the season looked to have potentially turned a corner with a well earned point against Crusaders, which allowed both Coleraine and Cliftonville to pick up capitalising wins and move within three and four points of the lead, respectively.
The BBC cameras were also at Inver Park for one of the Premiership’s games of the season as Paddy McClean’s dramatic late overhead kick earned Glentoran an away 3-2 win against Larne in a pulsating encounter. This set up a huge weekend of action as Coleraine moved top of the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference with a 2-0 win against Crusaders, Linfield defeated Ballymena in the battle of last season’s top two whilst Carrick Rangers picked up a win over Dungannon Swifts, whose early season form had fallen away dramatically in recent weeks.
Warrenpoint Town manager Steven McDonnell became the first manager of the season to be sacked with his side rooted to the foot of the table after a 7-0 defeat to Linfield at Windsor Park on 22 October.
Coleraine finished the month at the top of the tree with a sensational win over Linfield that increased their lead in the Premiership with Cliftonville now in second place after Crusaders dropped further points against Glenavon.
Life in the Bluefin Sport Championship remained unpredictable as ever as all the sides dropped points during October, but it was Matthew Tipton’s Ports that finished the month on top of the pile. As they capitalised on Loughgall’s first away defeat of the campaign (to Ballyclare Comrades) to claim a point away to Queens University which took the County Armagh side to the summit. Peter Thompson’s Queens side had been making a big impression during their first season in senior football as they picked up wins over Dundela and Knockbreda.
There was only one round of fixtures in the Bluefin Sport Premier Intermediate League in October owing to the early rounds of many of the intermediate cup competitions. Newington remained the only side with a 100% record by this stage after defeats for Annagh United (against Dollingstown) and Bangor (against Portstewart).
The BetMcLean League Cup was whittled down to just four clubs after both round three and the quarter-finals took place in an action packed month. The tie of the third round saw Coleraine edge past Glentoran at the Showgrounds and in the biggest shock of the night, Dundela of the Championship won 3-1 at Larne to earn a place in the last eight of the competition.
In the quarter-finals later that month, Institute progressed to the last four for the first time in the history of the competition thanks to Joe McCready’s winner against Newry. Elsewhere Crusaders left it late to overcome Ballymena United in extra-time, holders Linfield enjoyed a narrow victory over rivals Cliftonville, whilst Dundela failed to create another shock as they went down 5-1 to Coleraine at Wilgar Park.
With the Women’s season completed, the NI Football League launched it’s season review for 2019 noting that over 6,000 fans had come out to watch the Danske Bank Women’s Premiership during the past season and enjoyed an increase in Media Value (MAVE) to €375k.
Internationally it was a double defeat for the Northern Ireland Under-21’s during October 2019, losing to both Denmark and Romania, with Kofi Balmer (Ballymena United), Shayne Lavery (Linfield), Sean Graham (on loan to Larne), Caolan Marron (Glenavon), Jack O’Mahony (Glenavon) all winning caps whilst representing Danske Bank Premiership clubs.
In the October awards from the NI Football Writers’ Association, Adam Foley from Newry City picked up the Championship Player of the Month award and Ronan Doherty picked up the Goal of the Month for his effort for Cliftonville against Linfield in the County Antrim Shield
There was a Coleraine double for the main awards as Oran Kearney was named the Manager of the Month and midfielder Ben Doherty as Player of the Month