After a brief interlude for the first round of the Toals County Antrim Shield, Irish League Matchday Seven is back with some bumper games to look ahead to.
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The County Antrim Shield proved welcome respite for Larne during the week. The 3-0 win over PSNI on Wednesday night was a reprieve after three league games without a win. Institute meanwhile will hope that a 6-0 defeat to Crusaders will prove to be the low point of their campaign. Expect a further defeat for ‘Stute at the hands of Larne here however.
Prediction: Institute 0 – 4 Larne
After the lofty standards of last season, Ballymena have failed to be overly convincing in many of their performances this term. While they have recovered from a collapse against Glentoran with two consecutive league wins, the Braidmen were once again unconvincing against Dundela in the County Antrim Shield. Unbeaten Coleraine meanwhile have gone from strength to strength under the returning Oran Kearney. Last weeks 5-0 drumming of Dungannon provides much optimism for the rest of the season. Kearney’s men look likely to collect another three points from a tough away game here.
Prediction: Ballymena 1 – 3 Coleraine
The Crusader’s juggernaut is sure to roll on here. An 8-1 disposal of Sirocco Works saw new striker Jamie McGonigle grab five goals. If this is a sign to come for the season ahead warning bells will be sounding across the Irish League. While Glenavon secured an impressive 3-0 victory over Formartine in the Scottish Challenge Cup, Stephen Baxter’s men look to be too strong here for the Lurgan Blues.
Prediction: Crusaders 3 – 0 Glenavon
After a strong start the loss of key players seems to be taking its toll on Kris Lindsay’s Dungannon. Three wins and a draw in their opening four games saw Dungannon level on points with Crusaders before a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Seaview. A further 5-0 dismantling at Coleraine has proved a harsh reality check for the Swifts. Fifth-placed Cliftonville will be looking to bounce back after a rare home defeat to title-chasing Linfield last weekend. The Reds attack should have simply too much for a defense that has shipped eight goals in two games.
Prediction: Dungannon 0 – 2 Cliftonville
The first big two derby of the season is timed with both sides in fine form. Coming of the back of near miraculous European displays, Linfield secured an impressive three points at Solitude last week and a 5-1 home victory in the County Antrim Shield on Wednesday. The Glens meanwhile have secured three consecutive victories and currently occupy third place in the league. Striker Paul O’Neill is in particularly fine form with three goals so far this season. Linfield should just edge this game here however. The return of Shayne Lavery following his international exploits may prove the difference in what is sure to be a raucous occasion at Windsor Park.
Prediction: Linfield 2 – 1 Glentoran
A battle at the bottom between Warrnepoint and Carrick this weekend. With both sides struggling for form picking a winner here is difficult. Warrenpoint Town have already have a goal difference of -20 with just one goal scored after five games, while Carrick were beaten by lower league opposition for the second time this season on Wednesday night. Expect Niall Currie’s Carrick to grind a victory here however. While only securing one win so far this season, performances in general have been tenacious for the Amber Army. Carrick should just about nab their second win of the season in a low quality affair.
Prediction: Warrenpoint 0 – 1 Carrick Rangers
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