Linfield move top, Bradley saw red, “again!” Newry remove the handbrake to move off bottom spot. Another pulsating weekend of Irish League football.

On a sour note this week, everyone around the game, North and South of Ireland, heard the sad news of the passing of Derek McKinley. Derek spent thirty years working on the International stage with Northern Ireland and domestically had spells at Portadown, Glentoran, Lisburn Distillery and Knockbreda.

Linfield got the day off and running with an emphatic 4-1 win away to Institute. No wins in their last four games meant this should have been bread and butter for the Blues. Goals from Niall Quinn, Kirk Millar and a brace from the Blues scoring ace Andrew Waterworth lifted the Blues to top spot. Stute started this one brightly with their ‘fox in the box’ Michael McCrudden handing them an early lead. 

The most impressive result of the day must be Crusaders’ 3-0 win over high flying Glenavon. Champions or not all the talk and praise has been for the Lurgan Blues, who before the game sat top and were the league’s top scorers with 32. Today they were truly beaten. Paul Heatley who, in fairness, was just of a different class today, got the Hatchetmen off and running with goal number one, followed by a Jordan Owens brace. His second was just something to savor. The Hatchetmen march on. 

Glentoran missed the opportunity to close the gap on Coleraine drawing 1-1. Not for the first time this season Eoin Bradley got his marching orders. Robbie McDaid is having a great season for the Glens and he was on hand to put the Glens one up. It was inevitable the Bannsiders would score as they have scored in each of their last seven games. The reply came from their stand out player of the season so far, Darren McCauley. 

David Jeffrey’s in form Ballymena kept Cliftonville from stealing their position in 3rd. A 2-1 win gave the Sky Blues their 4th win in a row. The scoring was started by Cathair Friel, followed by an excellent free kick from Steven McCullough. Cliftonville got a consolation goal late on from Conor McDonald. All to little to late and Ballymena march on.

Warrenpoint entertained a rejuvenated Dungannon. Point have the league’s worst defence and didn’t disappoint conceding a goal to Johnny Lafferty. But they rescued a point with Alan O’Sullivan finishing off a good move to make it 1-1.

Bottom of the table Newry rose to the challenge and put Ards ‘to the sword’ and bottom spot with a 2-0 win. Mark Hughes and Jonny Boyle scoring the vital goals to get their team off the bottom spot, and register a win after going six games without.

Danske Bank Premiership

Position Team P W D L GD Pts
1 Linfield 16 10 4 2 20 34
2 Glenavon 15 10 2 3 15 32
3 Ballymena  United 15 9 3 3 12 30
4 Crusaders 16 9 1 6 7 28
5 Cliftonville 15 8 2 5 8 26
6 Coleraine 15 6 7 2 6 25
7 Glentoran 15 5 4 6 3 19
8 Institute 16 5 2 9 -12 17
9 Warrenpoint Town 16 3 5 8 -17 14
10 Dungannon Swifts 15 2 6 7 -9 12
11 Newry City 16 3 2 11 -20 11
12 Ards 16 2 4 10 -13 10