Irish Premiership fixtures announced for new season

Former Northern Ireland manager Jim Magilton will have high ambitions for his Cliftonville side
Former Northern Ireland manager Jim Magilton will have high ambitions for his Cliftonville side

JIM Magilton’s first league game as manager of Cliftonville will be a trip to Windsor Park to face Linfield.

The former Northern Ireland international took the Solitude reins earlier this month after Paddy McLaughlin joined Derry City as assistant manager and he could hardly have asked for a tougher start on August 5.

Promoted side Loughgall travel to face Newry City in another eye-catching clash.

The County Armagh outfit have been declared “Europe’s smallest settlement with a top-flight team” with just 288 residents, and are back in the top flight for the first time since 2007.

Larne, who secured their first-ever title last season, will host Dungannon Swifts in their opener.

Glentoran’s Warren Feeney is among a number of changes after a managerial merry-go-round, and his charges face Glenavon.

Jim Ervin’s new side, Ballymena United, will meet Coleraine, with Crusaders facing Carrick Rangers in the final tie of the weekend.

Fixtures may change as a result of any potential European run, while television broadcasters may also dictate slight rescheduling.

There are matches fixed midweek on Tuesday, August 8, with the first month of the season consisting of five matches for every team.

The pick of the games in round-two will likely be the champions’ trip to Glentoran, while newcomers Feeney and Irvin will face off in round five on August 26.

The Christmas period will be typically hectic, with matches on December 23, as well as the usual St Stephen’s Day derbies three days later.  

Linfield will have home advantage on that occasion, welcoming Glentoran, while Loughgall have been paired with Dungannon Swifts.

A six-day break will ensue, with action resuming on New Year’s Day 2024 when Glentoran against Cliftonville and Linfield’s trip to Inver Park promise to be the ties of the round.

March 23 sees the final round of games of the regular season, with the league splitting before action resumes on Tuesday April 2.

Sports Direct Irish Premiership opening fixtures

Saturday 5 August

Coleraine v Ballymena United

Crusaders v Carrick Rangers

Glenavon v Glentoran

Larne v Dungannon Swifts

Linfield v Cliftonville

Newry City v Loughgall