Danske Bank Premiership

It’s an exciting time for football fans in the UK as we’re in the middle of the busiest spell of the domestic football season and the Irish League is no different. Our team of ‘experts’ will be making their predictions for the fixtures taking place on Boxing Day but first let’s take a brief look at how they did on Saturday.

The game of the day on Saturday looked to be the second v third clash that took place at Windsor Park between Linfield and Glenavon. Most of our guys predicted it would be a point apiece but while they may have got the outcome correct they all predicted goals in the fixture with no one going for a goalless pre-Christmas affair between the sides.

Our whole panel predicted Ballymena to retain their place at the top of the league for Christmas Day with Cameron, Adrian, Rodney and Darren all correctly backing a 2-0 score line and wins for Crusaders and Coleraine were also popular amongst our ‘pundits’. One result that completely threw all of us was the extraordinary 6-4 win for Paddy McLaughlin’s Institute side over Cliftonville (read Darren’s Premiership Roundup published earlier). We all thought it would be a victory for the North Belfast side.

All this leaves the league table looking like this:-

1: Cameron 53
2: Henry 52
3: Keith O’D/Darren 50
5: Bryan 49
6: Rodney 46
7: Adrian 43
8: Keith F 40

The league table starting to spread out a bit more again with Cameron regaining a slender lead at the top but it’s still anyone’s to win with the next few sets of matches no doubt set to play a big part.

Moving onto the upcoming fixtures, the games set to take place on Boxing Day are:-

Ballymena United v Coleraine
Cliftonville v Crusaders
Dungannon Swifts v Glenavon
Institute v Ards
Linfield v Glentoran
Warrenpoint Town v Newry City

Of course, the biggest game on Boxing Day always used to be between arch rivals Linfield and Glentoran and while that match may have lost some of its appeal to the neutral observer with Glentoran falling down the table in recent seasons, both sets of supporters certainly won’t accept anything less than a win.

Two fixtures that do stand out are the North Belfast derby between Cliftonville and Crusaders and Newry City’s meeting with Warrenpoint. The league title looks to be slipping away from the current holders’ Crusaders already, but they will be looking to stake a claim for a European spot at least and Barry Gray’s men hope to beat them to it.

At the minute only one place and three points separate the teams. The derby between Warrenpoint and Newry could have huge implications at the bottom of the table as both sides are fighting for every point to stay in the division.

Moving onto our predictions we’ll start this week with Rodney –  remember it’s three points for the correct result and one for the correct outcome:-

Rodney
Ballymena United 2 Coleraine 1
Cliftonville 1 Crusaders 2
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 2
Institute 3 Ards 0
Linfield 2 Glentoran 0
Warrenpoint Town 2 Newry City 1

Keith O’D
Ballymena United 1 Coleraine 0
Cliftonville 1 Crusaders 1
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 3
Institute 0 Ards 0
Linfield 2 Glentoran 1
Warrenpoint Town 1 Newry City 3

Henry
Ballymena United 1 Coleraine 0
Cliftonville 2 Crusaders 2
Dungannon Swifts 1 Glenavon 3
Institute 3 Ards 1
Linfield 2 Glentoran 0
Warrenpoint Town 2 Newry City 2

Bryan
Ballymena United 1 Coleraine 1
Cliftonville 0 Crusaders 2
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 3
Institute 2 Ards 0
Linfield 2 Glentoran 1
Warrenpoint Town 2 Newry City 2

Darren
Ballymena United 2 Coleraine 1
Cliftonville 1 Crusaders 2
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 2
Institute 3 Ards 0
Linfield 3 Glentoran 1
Warrenpoint Town 2 Newry City 1

Cameron
Ballymena United 3 Coleraine 1
Cliftonville 0 Crusaders 2
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 3
Institute 2 Ards 1
Linfield 2 Glentoran 1
Warrenpoint Town 1 Newry City 1

Adrian
Ballymena United 1 Coleraine 1
Cliftonville 1 Crusaders 4
Dungannon Swifts 0 Glenavon 2
Institute 2 Ards 0
Linfield 3 Glentoran 0
Warrenpoint Town 1 Newry City 1

Keith F

Ballymena United 2 Coleraine 1
Cliftonville 1 Crusaders 2
Dungannon Swifts 1 Glenavon 2
Institute 1 Ards 0
Linfield 2 Glentoran 1
Warrenpoint Town 0 Newry City 1

As always enjoy whatever game you’ll be heading to and as this will be our last article published before Christmas we hope you all have a great day tomorrow from all the team here at Over the Turnstile.