Reds chief welcomes cup comeback and hopes it's a 'catalyst' for league action

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Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor.

Q Radio Sport

The dates and times have been confirmed for the Irish Cup semi-finals and final.

The last four derby double-header on Monday July 27 kicks off at 4pm with Ballymena facing Coleraine.

Then at 8pm it's the second semi, a Belfast battle between Glentoran and Cliftonville.

Both games are to be played behind-closed-doors at Windsor Park.

The National Stadium will host the final just a few days later - Friday July 31st, with an 8pm start.

There could be supporters at the decider as lockdown restrictions ease further with more spectators allowed at sporting events, from the 31st.

The final winners will progress to the qualifying stages of the Europa League. 

That is unless Coleraine take the trophy. They've already booked their place in European competition by finishing runners-up to Linfield in the league.

So a cup win for them would mean the third-placed team in the Premiership, Crusaders, going into Europe.

Cliftonville chairman Gerard Lawlor's been speaking about the return to action - the first competitive games here since mid-March.

The IFA and NIFL board member says it's an exciting prospect - and he hopes it proves a 'catalyst' for the league to bounce back too:

NIFL has asked clubs for their views, with some suggesting the resumption with fans could be as late as October. 

The Reds could be without defenders Jamie Harney and Garry Breen for the Glens clash.

They've been suspended by the IFA disciplinary committee, but the club is trying to overturn the bans.

The same goes for Ballymena after Steven McCullough was hit with a one-match suspension. 

Sky Blues boss David Jeffrey is due to serve a touchline ban. 

Meanwhile, Glentoran are being linked with Derry City winger Jamie McDonagh.  

The Candystripes are set for a return to League of Ireland action shortly: 

Warrenpoint Town confirmed on Friday five players are leaving the club - 

Gavin Smith, Deane Watters, Emmet Hughes, Ciaran McCann and Mark McKee.

On the international scene, there's a new arrival - but it's a familiar face:



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