FOOTBALL: HOLDERS BALLYMENA OUT TO DEFEND CO ANTRIM SHIELD

Ballymena fans cheer on Co Antrim shield winning team last season

Ballymena fans cheer on Co Antrim shield winning team last season

BALLYMENA UTD start the defence of the Co Antrim Shield on Tuesday with a home tie against Donegal Celtic.

The Sky Blues are the favourites to go through in the tie but manager Glenn Ferguson will be warning his players not to take the Suffolk Road side for granted.

However, the mouth watering tie of the round for local soccer fans will be Glentoran v Cliftonville at the Oval.

Cliftonville were beaten at Mourneview Park on Saturday by a single Andy McGrory goal.

It broke the Reds’ hearts and Tommy Breslin is now going to ring the changes to his team, mixing first team players with bench warmers at Mournview along with players from the reserves.

Says Tommy Breslin: “I plan to freshen things up.”

Crusaders host Lisburn Distillery at Seaview while Linfield take on Ards FC who are propping up the Danske Bank Irish Premier League.

The Blues will be missing Michael Gault and Aaron Burns who are both suspended.

 

CO ANTRIM SHIELD QUARTER FINAL TIES:

BALLYMENA UTD V DONEGAL CELTIC

CRUSADERS V LISBURN DISTILLERY

GLENTORAN V CLIFTONVILLE

LINFIELD V ARDS

 

Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter says he is expecting a tough assignment against the Whites, who were relegated from the Premiership last season.

“They have a top manager in Tommy Kincaid who knows Irish League football inside out,” added the Crusaders boss.

“He’ll come with a game plan to try and get something out of the game.

“They also have some good experienced players in their squad. Darren Nixon is a model professional who will organise them well at the back.

“We’re playing well. We’ve not have the run of the ball this season and should have had a few more wins.

“But it’s only eight games into the season and we’re not concerned about it.”

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