The beginning of the Toals County Antrim Shield is always an exciting occasion for local fans. A small selection of smaller sides have earned their glamour fixtures against the country’s best who themselves will be targeting their first silverware of the season. Join us as we preview the opening round in the 2019/20 Toals County Antrim Shield.
Free-scoring Larne will be out for a statement win in this one. After three indifferent league results the cup will provide welcome respite for Tiernan Lynch’s men. The most recent fixture between the pair ended with a 4-0 victory for Larne. Expect more of the same here.
After a run of three consecutive wins, the Glens may look to rotate a winning side at home here. With Ballyclare closer to the bottom of the Championship than the top however, the Glens should have little to worry about. Expect a varied starting XI for Mick McDermott and another win for a confident Glentoran side.
A potential upset on the cards here. Ards sit just one point above Queens in the Championship with ten points on the board. Queen’s are no stranger to a cup run and look good value at 9/5 to get one over their League rivals. Warren Feeney’s men could be set for disappointment with an early exit here.
Carrick Ranger’s league position somewhat belies their performances this season. Niall Currie’s men have lost narrowly to Larne, Ballymena and Cliftonville this season despite good performances. The Welder’s performances in the league so far suggests disappointment for the East Belfast side and a Carrick Rangers victory.
An underwhelming campaign thus far for the Reds has seen three victories from their opening six games. Cliftonville’s strong home form should see them comfortably navigate this tie and set up a huge clash with last season’s finalists Linfield.
Last season’s winners Crusader’s enter the competition in a rich vain of form. Twenty goals and two conceded in six games so far this season makes the Crues huge favourites to dismiss Sirocco Works here. A big victory must be expected at Seaview.
An inconsistent Ballymena will have to navigate this tie carefully to progress. Still to reach the form of last season, Jeffrey will be cautious of the danger posed by Dundela who currently sit third in the Championship. Expect the managerial veteran (who has won this competition six times before) to see his side progress however.
Although it’s not exactly a Europa League Play-Off against FK Qarabag, Linfield will be desperate to progress in this tournament. Expect David Healy to provide blend players on the fringe of his squad with regular starters and the Blues to ultimately progress through the tie comfortably.
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