NIFL Championship

After an absence for a few months we’re pleased to say that both our Championship and Premier Intermediate League roundups will be returning on a weekly basis, sometimes maybe even twice weekly depending on midweek fixtures.

On Saturday there were three fixtures taking place in the Bluefin Sport Championship and I’ll be bringing you a brief roundup of the goals and talking points from all of them. We start at Taylor’s Avenue where Niall Currie’s current side hosted Portadown, the team he managed for much of last season with both sides looking for points to cement their promotion challenge.

Carrick Rangers 2 Portadown 0

When Niall Currie took over at Portadown many felt it was a match made in heaven, as the mid-Ulster side were almost certainly doomed to relegation by the time the Portadown native took over the reins. Currie seemed to tick all the boxes to bring them back up having won the Championship previously with Loughgall and Ards.

Unfortunately it just didn’t seem to work out and eventually, Currie was sacked and replaced by Matthew Tipton but is now hoping to prove a point with his current side.

Portadown were the first to threaten in the game as Aaron Hogg had to tip a Chris Lavery effort away from goal but outside of that it seems little happened in the first half and it was 0-0 at the break. Carrick took the lead in the 49th minute as Daniel Kelly scored following a corner and it was 2-0 just two minutes later as Lloyd Anderson set up Michael Smith to score. Any chance of a Ports comeback looked even slimmer when Kevin Braniff was sent for an early bath and it was Carrick who almost scored again but Smith missed a penalty kick to extend the lead.

Carrick were reduced to ten men themselves when Ashton McDermott was sent off and Ports substitute Andy Kilmartin was also sent off late in the game.

Harland and Wolff Welders 1 Dundela 0

Second-placed Dundela made the short trip to Tillysburn Park to take on Norman Kelly’s Welders side in the ‘East Belfast Derby’.

The first half was a rather dull affair with few chances for either side but the home side almost took the lead not long before the break but Gwiazda couldn’t get his header on target.

The Welders did score what would prove to be the only goal of the game when Scott Davidson managed to get the ball over the line from close range and they managed to see out the what remained of the 90 minutes. There was one scare when the Duns had the ball in the net but the offside flag had been raised.

Knockbreda 2 PSNI 2

Another derby match took place at Breda Park as Knockbreda and PSNI, both currently based in the bottom half of the table met. The home side threatened on a couple of occasions and there was one particular incident when PSNI hearts were in mouths as ‘keeper Jordan Williamson left his area but failed to claim the ball. He managed to recover and remove any danger.

PSNI took the lead thanks to a superb strike by Jake O’Neill from outside the area. Knockbreda had chances to equalise before the break but their way to goal was denied by Williamson and they still trailed at half-time. Breda did equalise when great work and perseverance from David Fearon saw him cut inside and despite the close attention of the PSNI defence, fired a powerful left-footed strike past Williamson.

Knockbreda took the lead when Fearon scored direct from a free-kick and the home team must have thought they were heading for all three points but PSNI equalised when O’Neill added his second of the game following a scramble in the area and also after an initial header had been well saved by Lee Windrum.

After Saturday’s matches then the league table currently looks like this:-

Pos Team P W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Larne 19 15 3 1 51 12 39 48
2 Carrick Rangers 19 10 2 7 29 27 2 32
3 Dundela 19 9 4 6 47 37 10 31
4 HW Welders 19 10 1 8 30 26 4 31
5 Loughgall 19 8 5 6 40 31 9 29
6 Portadown 18 8 5 5 34 31 3 29
7 Ballyclare Comrades 18 7 4 7 35 40 -5 25
8 PSNI 19 6 4 9 30 41 -11 22
9 Ballinamallard United 19 6 3 10 24 29 -5 21
10 Knockbreda 19 6 3 10 28 42 -14 21
11 Limavady Utd 19 3 6 10 26 42 -16 15
12 Dergview 19 4 2 13 26 42 -16 14


There are four games taking place in the Championship on Boxing Day:-

Carrick Rangers v Limavady United
Dergview v Ballinamallard United
Larne v Ballyclare Comrades
Portadown v Loughgall