Ballymena United prepare to launch title defence as County Antrim shield returns

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They take on Harland and Wolff Welders this evening

Ballymena United launch their defence of the Toals County Antrim Shield tonight with a home game against Championship side Harland and Wolff Welders.

Other first round ties include last year's beaten finalists Linfield against Donegal Celtic and Crusaders away to Larne.

Crues manager Stephen Baxter could make changes for the game - midfielder Philip Lowry says they have a strong squad.

Cliftonville host Bangor in a repeat of the 2015 final, which ended in a 1-0 victory for the Reds. 

Glentoran will be aiming to avoid another defeat at the hands of junior opposition when they face Ballyclare Comrades at Dixon Park.

The east Belfast side lost to Annagh United in the League Cup three weeks ago, spelling the end of Alan Kernaghan's time as manager. 

Goalkeeper Dwayne Nelson was a member of the winning Ballymena squad last season.

He's now with the Glens and says they'll need no motivation this evening.

A new Glens boss could be appointed soon but Director of Football Roy Coyle remains in temporary charge of the team.

He's been on the wrong end of cup upsets in the past and doesn't want a repeat performance.


County Antrim Shield first round, Tuesday September 20th 7.45pm


Ballymena Utd v H&W Welders
Carrick Rangers v PSNI
Ards v Knockbreda
Ballyclare Comrades v Glentoran
Linfield  v Donegal Celtic
Larne  v Crusaders
Cliftonville v Bangor
Newington  v Albert Foundry

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