Week 2 of the Irish League sees the first Friday night matches of the season with Linfield hosting recently promoted Institute and the other promoted side Newry at home to Dungannon.
An Irish Cup final repeat with Cliftonville
looking for revenge at home to Coleraine
is the pick of the weekend’s fixtures whilst Crusaders v Ballymena
also looking like a tasty encounter!
Elsewhere, Glentoran visit Ards with added spice with club legend Colin Nixon rejecting the club this summer in order to remain with Ards. Glenavon will also be looking for their first points of the season away to Warrenpoint.
Starting with Friday night’s fixtures and I feel Institute will put up a brave fight at Windsor Park. The club started with a 1-0 win and comfortably won the Championship last season. The vibes coming out of the club are good and they will relish this challenge. Dungannon look reasonable value away to Newry in a tough game to call admittedly. Always dangerous playing away to a recently promoted side in their first home game of the season and after defeat to Institute, Newry will be looking to put points on the board early and seeing this as a good opportunity to do so also.
The big game at Solitude should be a cracker, both teams put in strong showings in Europe this season and have hit the ground running. Another game that is difficult to call, but both teams to score could be the value pick in a game which will probably be settled by the odd goal either way.
Colin Coates of Crusaders wheels away in celebration.
Crusaders to win and BTTS would be my pick against Ballymena. Ballymena had a big clearout and may need more time to gel, but they had a good opening day win and Crusaders could be vulnerable to a shock here depending on the belief in the Ballymena squad for the season ahead.
Glentoran have a good record away to Ards but Ards showed against Crusaders that they are full of belief. Bit of a stagnant summer for Glentoran and perhaps unlucky to lose against Cliftonville but hard to be overly confident about them at this stage. Important game personally for Colin Nixon and I think they can get a result here.
Lastly, Glenavon should get off the mark in what could be a high scoring game at Warrenpoint. I feel Warrenpoint will struggle this season and their leaky defence could be put to the sword by the dangerous Glenavon frontmen.
Linfield 1-1 Institute
Newry 0-1 Dungannon
Ards 1-1 Glentoran
Cliftonville 1-2 Coleraine
Crusaders 3-2 Ballymena
Warrenpoint 1-4 Glenavon
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