Blues in box seat as they aim for first Premiership title in 5 years

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Linfield's Paul Smyth. Image credit: NIFL

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The Danske Bank Premiership title race is set for a dramatic finale on the last day of campaign this Saturday.

Linfield moved two points clear at the top with a 5-1 victory in Coleraine at the weekend, while long-time leaders and defending champions Crusaders lost 3-0 at Ballymena.

Due to a superior goal difference, a point would be enough in their final game at Cliftonville for the Blues to win the league for the first time in five years.

Manager David Healy says they've already proved the critics wrong.


The Crues need to beat Glenavon in their last match to have any chance of overhauling the Blues.

Defender Howard Beverland says they're not throwing in the towel just yet.


The Sky Blues have a derby clash at Coleraine in their final game of the campaign this Saturday.

David Jeffrey's men are level on points with fourth-placed Cliftonville and will take their place in the Europa League play-offs. 

They've already won the league cup this season and midfielder Allan Jenkins says it's quite a contrast to this time last year.


Ballymena's Allan Jenkins

With Cliftonville losing 3-1 at home to Glenavon it's been confirmed Coleraine will finish third and qualify for Europe.

Dungannon Swifts all but clinched the final Europa League play-off place with a 4-0 victory against Carrick Rangers at Stangmore Park.

Rodney McAree's men are set to finish seventh - they're three points clear of Ards with a game to play and have a much better goal difference. 

Ards beat Ballinamallard 3-2 in Fermanagh on Friday night. 

In the other fixture on Saturday, Glentoran had a 3-0 home win against relegated Portadown. 

At the weekend, footballers from the Danske Bank Premiership wore rainbow laces in support of the LGBT community in Northern Ireland. 


The initiative from Deputy Mayor of Belfast Mary Ellen Campbell and NIFL was launched at the Glenavon v Cliftonville match at Solitude on Saturday and has been hailed as a great success with players from various clubs choosing to display the accessories during their matches.

Mary Ellen Campbell, the first openly gay Lord Mayor or Deputy Lord Mayor, said she was proud so many players showed their support for the colourful cause.

"I want to express my thanks to all those players who wore the rainbow laces. I also want to thank the clubs and NIFL. It might seem like a small gesture but it goes a long way in making football a more welcoming environment for members of the LGBT community."

NIFL Managing Director Andrew Johnston said: “We are delighted to support the Deputy Lord Mayor in this initiative. Football brings people together and this is a great way to stand alongside footballers and fans alike who identify as LGBT.”


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