NI to start and finish World Cup qualifying against Italy - Republic land Qatar

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NI boss Ian Baraclough.

Q Radio Sport

Northern Ireland will face Italy at the beginning and end of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The fixtures were confirmed on Tuesday night and see Ian Baraclough's men kick off their group games in March away to the Italians.

The return match at Windsor Park will be staged in November, the same month as Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal visit the Republic.

There was a surprise for the Republic - they'll have the World Cup hosts as part of their group, for friendly games:

Portadown beat Dungannon 3-0 in the Danske Bank Premiership on Tuesday. 

It moves Matthew Tipton's team into eighth place, above the Swifts on goal difference.

Ballymena United have transfer-listed striker Cathair Friel, saying it's for disciplinary reasons.

Goalkeeper Ross Glendinning is also being allowed to leave the club, as he wants to play regular first team football.

Club statement:

Glentoran could clinch the Danske Bank Women's Premiership title on Wednesday evening.

They need a point away to Crusaders to lift the trophy.

A Crues star's received a boost ahead of the Seaview clash:

In the other games, Linfield welcome Derry City and Sion Swifts host Cliftonville. 

Finally, there's still no stopping that man Ronaldo - and he's on his way to these shores:

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