It’s that time of the week again. Have a read ahead for Toals Sport’s predictions for matchday eight of the Irish League. Will the Crues extend their lead at the top or will they be pegged back by the chasing pack?
New boss Sean Connor could have picked an easier first game as Institute manager. The former Finn Harps and Galway manager takes considerable experience to the club, but may find getting a result here too big a task. ‘Stute may yet survive in the top division this season – but it’s unlikely a resurgence will be kick-started here. On the back of a 4-0 victory over Dungannon last week, another win and more Joe Gormley goals is surely on the cards this weekend.
Prediction: Cliftonville 3 – 1 Institute (9/1)
With Crusaders presently six points clear at the top of the Irish League, this weekend’s round of fixtures looks set to be combustible. Second-placed Coleraine welcome the Crues to the Showgrounds with the goal of cutting the lead at the top to just three points. The Bannsiders will be up against it however. An injury for free-scoring James McLoughlin and two red cards last week present danger signs for Oran Kearney’s men. The Crues meanwhile travel north in great form hoping to deliver the season’s first defeat for Coleraine. Jamie McGonigle scored three against his new club for Coleraine last season in a 4-2 victory at the Showgrounds last year. Without his firepower, Coleraine may struggle here. Expect a tough showing from Kearney’s men, but Crusaders may have enough to just edge it given the absences for the Bannsiders.
Prediction: Coleraine 0 – 1 Crusaders (10/1)
A tense game could be on the cards here. Both Hamilton and Jeffrey’s men have failed to fully recapture the standards of previous campaigns and will be desperate to secure three points here. Glenavon currently languish third from bottom after securing just four points in total this season, while Ballymena lie in the mid-table mix. The failure to secure a win against a weakened Coleraine team last week will be a concern for the boss. Expect Ballymena to secure convert at Mourneview however. The Lurgan Blues look short on confidence and creativity and this should be exploited by Ballymena.
Prediction: Glenavon 0 – 2 Ballymena (12/1)
An industrious Glentoran went down battling to champions Linfield last week. The Glens had previously secured three consecutive victories. Warrenpoint meanwhile have scored just one goal in six games and lie at the foot of the table on 0 points. Glentoran will be expecting a walkover at the Oval come 3pm Saturday and it would be difficult to see any alternate outcome.
Prediction: Glentoran 4 – 0 Warrenpoint Town (11/1)
Despite being a free-scoring side Larne’s inconsistency has left them in sixth position in the league standings. Dungannon meanwhile, after a lightning start, have swiftly fallen into the bottom half following consecutive 3-0, 5-0 and 4-0 defeats. While Dungannon are experiencing a difficult patch, Larne will have to battle to secure the three points. The firepower at Tiernan Lynch’s disposal however should see his side get the home win.
Larne 3 – 1 Dungannon Swifts (10/1)
An away trip to Carrick may prove a tricky prospect for a Linfield squad stretched by a demanding fixture schedule. Tuesday night’s 5-4 extra time victory away to Ballinamallard made clear the Blues can take little for granted this season. Linfield should have enough to secure the win infront of the TV cameras here. Despite spirited performances at Taylors Avenue Carrick have yet been unable to secure a positive result at home. Another defeat is on the cards for Niall Currie’s Amber Army.
Carrick Rangers 0 – 2 Linfield (N/A)
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