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Discussion Starter #1
The new reformed Irish league finally kicked off properly this week after two weekends of problems delayed the start. Referees strike made sure the original kick off date was prosoped however when IFA realised how serious the refs where, they qucikly gave in.

The next week saw a month of rain fall in two days in most parts of the country so only one game was able to go ahead which was was Institute Vs Crusaders which ended up 1-1

This season as always Linfield are the team to catch after winning league last season and league cup, however they have lost a host of players including 5 forwards and top goal scorer for the past 2 seasons Peter Thompson. Although Micheal Carvill definatly has the ability to fill the void, and Andrew Waterworth is also on the cards

Glentoran have kept all their best players and didnt make any big signings with a weakened linfield expect them to have a good go at the title this year

Cliftonville also havn't made many big signings and have had to sell a few players such as John Martin to Linfield so may struggle this season with their core of local players now all entering their 30's



BALLYMENA 1 - 5 CLIFTONVILLE

BANGOR 3 - 2 INSTITUTE

COLERAINE 1 - 0 D Swifts

CRUSADERS 2 - 0GLENAVON

LINFIELD 1 - 0 NEWRY CITY

LISBURN DISTILLERY 1 - 1 GLENTORAN
 

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Pumba, is it true at boxing day there's always the match Linfield-Glentoran at Windsor Park?

If so, why does Linfield always play at home at boxing day? I reckon there are derbies too at The Oval? :)

btw, go Cliftonville!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
btw, go Cliftonville!!!
:rollani:


Yes there usually is a game between those 2 on boxing day and is usually the fixture with the highest attendance of the season. It isnt always at Windsor though as far as i am aware
 

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Yes there usually is a game between those 2 on boxing day and is usually the fixture with the highest attendance of the season. It isnt always at Windsor though as far as i am aware
Hmm ok, thanks. Well I heard of it and I'm serious thinking of attending that fixture, although I first need more info of course ;).

What's your theam in Northern Ireland btw, Lisburn Distillery FC? :pp

Also, what's this for nonsense? :googly: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/irish/7398872.stm
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I dont really have a team tbh, i do look for Distillery's results and how they r doing etc but their ground is in such a ridiculous position that its hard to get to. Easiest place for me to get to is windsor to watch Linfield but alot of their fan base are total asses so ill avoid them

League was restructured and entry requires clubs to meet a set of criteria (similar to LOI) Portadowns application arrived late and they where not allowed into the new league. Bit of a joke really, they won 1st game 5-1 and 2nd gaem 7-1, despite losing half their squad they still walk over any championship team.

Linfield are playing Glentoran at home 26th or 27th December, still to be confirmed
 

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I dont really have a team tbh, i do look for Distillery's results and how they r doing etc but their ground is in such a ridiculous position that its hard to get to. Easiest place for me to get to is windsor to watch Linfield but alot of their fan base are total asses so ill avoid them
Hmm ok, thought they were from Lisburn just as in your profile no?

About Linfield's fans, well I heard many stories, what's the matter with them?

League was restructured and entry requires clubs to meet a set of criteria (similar to LOI) Portadowns application arrived late and they where not allowed into the new league. Bit of a joke really, they won 1st game 5-1 and 2nd gaem 7-1, despite losing half their squad they still walk over any championship team.
That's really too bad, hopefully they're back where they belong soon, so next season.

Linfield are playing Glentoran at home 26th or 27th December, still to be confirmed
Cheers, any idea when usually the schedule definitely will be confirmed? :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hmm ok, thought they were from Lisburn just as in your profile no?
Yes Distillery are from lisburn but their isnt near any decent public service routes. No where near train lines like majority of grounds in northern Ireland are. Colraine, Ballymena, Glenavon, Linfield, Glentoran and Crusaders all have their grounds just 5mins walk or less from nearest stations.

Only 1 bus route passes New Grovsnor as well and its a country one. One bus every 3 hours or something silly like that.

About Linfield's fans, well I heard many stories, what's the matter with them?
When you go to windsor u will understand

any idea when usually the schedule definitely will be confirmed?
Dont no when it will be confirmed, just check the clubs websites every now and again
 

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Knoert, I lived in Northern Ireland for 2 years and lived a stonethrow from Linfield so I may answer this one (PUmba, sorry if this borders politics)

In NI almost all teams are tied to either pro-Irish or pro-British communities. This is also the reason why I did not choose a favourite team to support: I wanted to stay politically neutral as an immigrant. Linfield is an extreme example. While some other teams also have a pro-British fanbase (Portadown, Crusaders, Glentoran, etc) Linfield are quite extreme. They used to sing very violent anti-catholic/anti-irish songs, they play in the colours of the British flag, the fans frequently burn Irish flags and such things. Now it has to be said Linfield's board has done a lot of efford to ban this behaviour and the many times I was at Linfield games I never saw real violence so their anti-sectarianism campaign has been a success somewhat, there is however still an element within their support...

PS: for the same reason I do dislike Cliftonville. Sorry to disappoint you, but they are the opposide side of the coin as Linfield. They are the most extreme pro-Irish team and have caused problems several times with their anti-British behaviour, sometimes including physical provocations. Linfield and Cliftonville are on the more extreme side of the spectrum while other clubs in NI, although often also leaning towards one political corner, are more moderate.

If you want to support a truly neutral team, then support Queens University AFC in the third division as their players are all students from both sides of the political divide. This is about the only politically neutral team you will find in the Belfast agglomeration. However, most clubs are not very politically loaded and their political background has become a bit of a background fact, only Linfield and Cliftonville can be a bit more stubborn to out their political preference.

Glens-Linfield on Boxing Day is traditional but it is not always at Windsor. I have attended Glens-Linfield on Boxing Day a few seasons ago and that was played at The Oval (Glentoran stadium). I think they switch it every year who plays at home on Boxing Day. But to have the big 2 playing each other is tradition on Boxing Day yes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It isnt as bad as CP is making out considering half the Linfield is Catholic these days, but that is generally what im getting at. Alot of them are just wee scum bags.

Distillery is pretty much neutral considering they originate from Grovesnor road
 

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To complete that info: Distillery was originally a Belfast team who swapped stadiums multiple teams after their own stadium was lost in a huge fire. They have been groundsharing with teams such as Crusaders and Brantwood for a few years before leaving Belfast and relocating to Lisburn which had no semi-professional team of its own yet. The club was consequently renamed Lisburn Distillery but never tried to rebrand itself as a new club like MK Dons did.

Institute is also neutral in theory, but due to Derry City's location and situation and due to Institute's pitch location they pretty much fish for fans in the small unionist population of Derry/Londonderry. I think really neutral teams in practice are not that common but the sectarian element is fading rapidly compared to several years ago so in the end I didn't notice too much of the political backgrounds of most teams (exceptions such as Linfield and Cliftonville put aside)
 

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They used to sing very violent anti-catholic/anti-irish songs, they play in the colours of the British flag, the fans frequently burn Irish flags and such things. Now it has to be said Linfield's board has done a lot of efford to ban this behaviour and the many times I was at Linfield games I never saw real violence so their anti-sectarianism campaign has been a success somewhat, there is however still an element within their support...
Does things like these still happen?

PS: for the same reason I do dislike Cliftonville. Sorry to disappoint you, but they are the opposide side of the coin as Linfield. They are the most extreme pro-Irish team and have caused problems several times with their anti-British behaviour, sometimes including physical provocations. Linfield and Cliftonville are on the more extreme side of the spectrum while other clubs in NI, although often also leaning towards one political corner, are more moderate.
Well to be honest I think in politics I've got quite the same opinion as the Cliftonville fans, although I don't support (physical) provocations.

If you want to support a truly neutral team, then support Queens University AFC in the third division as their players are all students from both sides of the political divide. This is about the only politically neutral team you will find in the Belfast agglomeration.
Do they have a stadium? :D

If they have, do they attract any fans?

Glens-Linfield on Boxing Day is traditional but it is not always at Windsor. I have attended Glens-Linfield on Boxing Day a few seasons ago and that was played at The Oval (Glentoran stadium). I think they switch it every year who plays at home on Boxing Day. But to have the big 2 playing each other is tradition on Boxing Day yes.
Ok, so it's just this time they'll play at Windsor, next year on Boxing day the derby will take place at the Oval?

At this moment the schedule is like this;
http://ifapremiership.com/fixtures1208.htm
Friday, 26th or Saturday, 27th December, 2008,
JJB Sports Premiership (kick-off tbc)
Ballymena United v. Coleraine
Cliftonville v. Crusaders
Dungannon Swifts v. Institute
Linfield v. Glentoran
Lisburn Distillery v. Bangor
Newry City v. Glenavon
Will the derby always be played at boxing day, or is there a chance too it will be played one day later?

I see the 2nd division matches are scheduled for the 27th.
http://www.ifachampionship.com/ifachampionshipfix1208.htm
Saturday, 27th December, 2008
Armagh City v. Ballinamallard United
Ballyclare Comrades v. Killymoon Rangers
Carrick Rangers v. Tobermore United
Coagh United v. Dergview
Glebe Rangers v. Ballymoney United
Limavady United v. Banbridge Town
Loughgall v. Donegal Celtic
Portadown v. Larne
Best one to visit is Portadown I guess, if there's no premier league game on the 27th?

Sorry for all these questions, but I'm totally unknown with Northern Irish football :).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Does things like these still happen?
No unless provoked by rival fans


Well to be honest I think in politics I've got quite the same opinion as the Cliftonville fans, although I don't support (physical) provocations.
Where are you even from??


Do they have a stadium? :D

If they have, do they attract any fans?
Not really

Will the derby always be played at boxing day, or is there a chance too it will be played one day later?
At the minute it may be on either 26th or 27th


Best one to visit is Portadown I guess, if there's no premier league game on the 27th?
Portadown is a good place to go so it probally would be best
 

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Knoert, those things at Linfield still happen though very rarely they will get explicit and it has improved a lot so many games no sectarian outings happen at all. If they do happen, which is a minority of games, it is often in a more subtle form rather than singing violent songs about Irish catholics. I have attended several Linfield games myself when I lived in NI, and never heard any really insulting song towards Irish catholics. I did see one time that an idiot burnt an Irish flag but he was very heavily criticised by hundreds of other Linfield fans who used the fans website to apologise for the behaviour of this one guy (who, so I have heard, rarely attends games)

They do sing God Save the Queen sometimes, waive Union Jacks etc... But they do that against "other protestant teams" as well, and even when playing against a more catholic-orientated team you can consider waiving a national flag hardly sectarian. If you do consider it sectarian, Cliftonville are just as guilty as Linfield.




As for Queens: their team is in third division, made up entirely out of staff of the university and students. They have no specific religious and political background as students and academical staff are from both communities. The team has no own ground they use for games, they instead groundshare with PSNI FC (that is the policemens team) who have a very tiny stadium with a stand holding approx 50 people. The grass pitch however is so good there that the Northern ireland team often uses it as training ground. This little stadium is in the outskirts of South Belfast and both Queens University and the police team PSNI FC play their league games there. Because the ground is owned by the police, you need to show your passport or ID when entering the ground. Queens Unis team attracts 10 to 20 fans only and most will be either family of the players or befriended other students.

PSNI itself is the same story: also in 3rd division just like Queens University FC, and also attracting not more than 10 to 20 fans who will be either relatives of the players or other policemen watching their colleagues play. I did attend one PSNI away game and there were 5 of their fans, including one in police uniform :D But while Queens Uni is a politically neutral team, PSNI is the same in theory but often seen as a protestant team because in the past the police employed more protestants than catholics (is not the case anymore as far as I know)




One last thing, sorry if this borders politics: many foreigners seem to take a side for a united Ireland when it comes to the Northern Ireland issue. I must say I had this view as well in the past when I had never been to Ireland myself. However, since I have lived on the island for 3 years (of which 2 years in the north) I have sort of adopted a more neutral viewpoint. because the issue is a lot more complex than saying "it is one island so it should be one nation". The British did build very good infrastructure on the island and helped a lot to develop the island (those supporting a united Ireland will say they did so by forcing their own culture and traditions on the population, but that is a very onesided view) and the economy in the area only started to get off properly when the British invested in it. So while I do see several points to say a United Ireland would make sense, I also see some valid arguments why people still feel a connection with the UK. I wont go further into this because it is politics and this is not allowed here, but I am just saying that many foreigners seem to support a united Ireland while the whole issue is a lot more complex than it seems. I would invite anyone to live in Northern Ireland as well for a while like I did, and I am curious if they would change their views on the issue. I certainly have gotten a lot more insight in the complex history of the country and would no longer think in the same terms as before I lived and experienced Northern Ireland.




PS: if you visit the country, skip the second division and take a sightseeing tour. Belfast is an amazing city with not just a unique history but a great present as well. The artistic scene is big, there are some beautiful buildings all over the city, ... also, the coastal towns like Bangor and Holywood are great to visit. I would rather advise that instead of a division 2 game because honestly, D2 is terrible in terms of football and attendances... I did watch several D2 and D3 games myself but I was living in Northern Ireland and thus had all the time to see the country. If you only have a few days or a week in the country, I would advise to stick to your Linfield-Glentoran plans and use the other days to see some of the country. Northern Ireland may have a weird reputation abroad, but it is really a great place with a lot of sights worth of visiting. And definitely visit Laverys or the Limelight during the nights, on Wednesdays it is open mike night at Laverys and that is where all young artists hang out then. On Mondays there is poetry readings and traditional Irish music in the John Hewitt Pub, also worth checking!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Lisburn Distillery moved to the top of the JJB Sports Premiership after claiming a hard-earned win over struggling Ballymena United on Tuesday.

Neal Gawley curled in a great goal for the Whites on 41 minutes.
Gawley was then bundled in the penalty box on 52 minutes by Gavin McDonnell and Gary Browne scored the spot-kick.

Neil Teggart notched a penalty for Ballymena on 75 minutes and Whites goalkeeper Alex Spackman denied Davitt Walsh a late equaliser.

Ballymena Showgrounds, full-time

Ballymena Utd 1 (Teggart 75 pen)

Lis Distillery 2 (Gawley 41, Browne 52 pen)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Cliftonville v Linfield

Linfield manager David Jeffrey is hoping "hard work in training" in recent days will be rewarded in Monday's clash at Solitude.
The Blues go into the JJB Sports Premiership clash (1945 GMT) after four straight defeats - the club's worst run under Jeffrey since 1997.

"I have total confidence in the players that they are going to get us out of this situation," said Jeffrey.

"However, we have got to start scoring goals again."

Jeffrey is hoping that the presence of the live television cameras at the re-opened Solitude will help spur his players to recapture their best form.

"Solitude is always a difficult place to go to and they are back playing well after their rocky patch but these are the type of occasions that players should look forward to."

The Blues boss has been hit by a tale of walking wounded going into Monday's televised match at the redeveloped North Belfast venue.

"Noel Bailie pulled up at the end of training on Saturday with a groin injury and Michael Gault's ankle injury is not fully right yet.

"Aidan O'Kane has only done a little bit of training because of 'flu while Jamie Mulgrew, Conor Hagan, Jim Ervin and Oran Kearney are also not ready yet."

Cliftonville manager Eddie Patterson is convinced Linfield will recover and mount a serious defence of their Premiership crown.
David Jeffrey's Blues have lost their last two league games but are still only six points behind leaders Glentoran with two games in hand.

"Linfield have gone through a tough time but they will be up for the challenge," said Patterson.

Monday's meeting between the sides is the first match at Solitude this term.
The north Belfast Reds have had to play home games at Donegal Celtic's Suffolk Road base since August as a new stand was being constructed at their own ground.

"The players missed the place and I am sure the fans did as well," added Patterson.

"Our fans traditionally play such an important role for us. There is no place like home and we are looking forward to getting out there on Monday night."

_____________________________________________________________

Game is live on sky sports 2 i think at 7:30pm

Ill predict a Cliftonville win
 

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Monday's meeting between the sides is the first match at Solitude this term.
The north Belfast Reds have had to play home games at Donegal Celtic's Suffolk Road base since August as a new stand was being constructed at their own ground.
Indeed, I'm as well very interested to know what's happening / changing exactly at Solitude... no pictures or so?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
seems i was pretty wrong with my prediction, Linfield destroyed Cliftonville 0-4 last night with all 4 goals comming in the first half. A very action packed game that nearly got out of hand when some crunching tackles started flying in, really football as it should be which is what the IFA have been promoting the league as. Good game to watch.


Paul Munster turned the ball in after William Murphy knocked the ball down for the striker in the fourth minute.
Murphy added the second on 17 minutes, following up to score after John Connolly had saved from Glenn Ferguson.
Michael Carvill fired a low left-foot shot into the bottom corner of the net on 35 and Munster headed home a Billy Joe Burns cross just before half-time.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7695053.stm
Linfield manager David Jeffery

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7695078.stm
Cliftonvilles Eddie Patterson

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New stand cost £1.2million to build and seems quite modern to me, ill let you know when i find out more, Cliftonvilles website is down atm
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Cliftonville v Glentoran

Another chance to have a peak at Cliftonvilles new stand

Cliftonville welcome Kieran O'Connor back to their squad for Monday night's JJB Premiership game at Solitude.
Barry Holland will be absent while Aaron Smyth and Conor Downey will undergo late fitness tests on injuries.

"This game gives the boys a chance to redeem themselves after the cup defeat by Portadown but it will be tough," said Reds boss Eddie Patterson.

Glentoran have lost their last three games in all competitions but manager Alan McDonald has no injury worries.

"It was a difficult week for us as we lost to Cork in the Setanta Cup final, then to Ballymena, and then to Crusaders at Seaview," said McDonald.

"Cliftonville have not had much luck with injuries but they are a decent team and have won a trophy already this season so they will pose a stern test for us."


I predict a close game for this, a draw mayby. Although saying that i was pretty far out with my last prediction so what the hell do i know??


Current Table

Code:
Pos 	 	 P  	W  	D  	L  	D  	Points
1  Linfield  	13  	9  	2  	2  	19  	29
5  Glentoran  	12  	7  	4  	1     	6  	25
9  Cliftonville 13  	3  	4  	6   	-5  	13
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Cliftonville 0-2 Glentoran

Glentoran moved third in the JJB Sports Premiership with this victory at a wet and windy Solitude on Monday night.

Cliftonville's Stephen O'Neill put a close-range header wide and seconds later Shane McCabe struck a superb 20-yard shot into the top corner.

Colin Nixon made it 2-0 from a penalty on 84 minutes after Andrew Waterworth was brought down by John Connolly.
George McMullan blasted over after a good Cliftonville counter-attack in the 39th minute.
Glens striker Gary Hamilton brought a scrappy first half to end when he poked wide from the edge of the box.

The visitors were forced into a goalkeeping change at the break with James Taylor coming on for his debut in place of the injured Elliott Morris.
Taylor was quickly into the action with a good save from Ronan Scannell's long-range free-kick.

It was all about finishing with O'Neill missing from Chris Scannell's cut-back before McCabe finished with aplomb.

McMullan was denied after 71 minutes when his blistering goalbound shot was kept out by a brave headed block from Jason Hill.

Waterworth pounced on a Declan O'Hara error and the substitute fell to the floor after Connolly raced out of goal.
The spot-kick was awarded by referee Davy Malcolm and Nixon sent Connolly the wrong way to double the lead and seal a win which leaves the Glens just a point behind leaders Linfield and Crusaders.


Seems the Belfast clubs are goin to dominate this season once again with the top 3 now all coming from the City
 
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