Cliftonville and Coleraine go head to head this weekend in the Danske Bank Premiership (c) Presseye
Friday, 10 August 2018
After a record breaking opening weekend of the Danske Bank Premiership, the action for gameweek two kicks off tonight.
Friday 10 August
Linfield v Institute (venue: Windsor Park; kick-off: 7.45pm)
There were much needed victories for both sides to kick off the Danske Bank Premiership season last Saturday, but newly promoted Institute will have their work cut out as the Blues welcome them to Windsor Park. Paddy McLaughlin’s started their season with a narrow victory over Newry City at their new home of the Brandywell.
New signing Daniel Kearns shone for David Healy’s side in their 1-0 win over Glenavon, as they play their first match in front of their home fans this season.
Newry City v Dungannon Swifts (venue: Newry Showgrounds; kick-off: 7.45pm)
It’s a first home game of the season for Newry City as Premiership football returns to the city for the first time in seven years. Darren Mullen’s side shouldn’t be deterred from their opening day defeat to Institute last Saturday, given the journey their club has come in recent years.
The Swifts will be disappointed by their defeat to Ballymena United at Stangmore Park on the opening weekend and will go into the game without key defender Chris Hegarty who was sent off against the Sky Blues.
Saturday 11 August
Ards v Glentoran (venue: Clandeboye Park; kick-off: 3pm)
Glentoran make the short journey to Bangor on Saturday afternoon, Colin Nixon was on the radar of the Glens last season for the manager’s position but chose to stay with his hometown team and continue the project he has started. Ards were unfortunate in their opening game against Crusaders as they fought back to draw level against the Champions, only to finish with ten men and a 4-2 defeat, following Joshua Kelly’s dismissal.
Ronnie McFall’s second coming as permanent manager of Glentoran started with an agonising defeat at the Oval to Cliftonville in front the highest recorded crowd for an opening day fixture in ten years.
Cliftonville v Coleraine (venue: Solitude; kick-off: 3pm)
In the game of the day, it’s a re-run of last season’s Irish Cup final as Cliftonville welcome Coleraine to Solitude. Both sides have had little break due to their Europa League schedules this summer, but there are a number of new faces for both sides since the Bannsiders lifted the Irish Cup in May.
Bannsiders’ boss Oran Kearney navigated through their first hurdle of the season without ten first team players last week through suspensions, injury and unavailability, as they defeated Warrenpoint Town comfortably by three goals. Kearney will welcome back Brad Lyons, Stephen McDonnell and Aaron Burns to the squad for this game.
Jay Donnelly was the Reds’ hero at the Oval last week as he stepped up to take glory in the enforced absence of suspended brother, Rory.
Crusaders v Ballymena United (venue: Seaview; kick-off: 3pm)
The Champions flag was raised at Seaview on Monday evening as Stephen Baxter’s side avoided a scare against Ards to run out 4-2 winners in their opening game of the title defence. New signing Rory Patterson marked his debut with both a goal and a penalty miss, but the Crues have plenty to be positive about as having already had four competitive European games under their belts, they will hope to hit the ground running against Ballymena United on Saturday.
David Jeffrey’s new look side got off to the perfect start on Saturday as they grabbed all three points and a clean sheet against Dungannon Swifts, but despite a plethora of new signings it was some of the more familiar faces who grabbed the goals in the form of William Faulkner and Tony Kane. In a repeat of the final game of last season, the Sky Blues will have to be at their best to topple Crusaders.
Warrenpoint Town v Glenavon (venue: Mourneview Park; kick-off: 3pm)
It was a start to the season to forget for both clubs, as Stephen McDonnell started life as permanent Warrenpoint manager with a three goal defeat to Coleraine at the Ballycastle Road. Gary Hamilton cut an equally frustrated figure as his side lost to Linfield having squandered an Andrew Mitchell penalty. Both sides will be looking to get their first points on the board tomorrow.