By Q Radio Sport
The Danske Bank Premiership season kicks off tonight with Ballymena United hosting Crusaders at Warden Street.
The game between the teams who finished fourth and second in the last campaign starts at 7.45pm.
Sky Blues vice-chairman Don Stirling explains why it's the only fixture this evening:
Ballymena United get their 2017/18 Danske Bank Premiership campaign off with a home tie against @CrusadersFC . https://t.co/JrXNxDyAps pic.twitter.com/WuLVJQmOtO— Ballymena United FC (@BallymenaUnited) August 10, 2017
Moving to Saturday and there are five more matches tomorrow. Champions Linfield start their title defence at home to Carrick Rangers.
Blues boss David Healy says he's wary of Davy McAlinden's men:
Coleraine, third last time, face Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.
New Bannsiders midfielder Josh Carson says it's a tough place to start the season...
Thanks to @ColeraineFC U9s who helped us kick off the new #DanskeBankPrem season last night at the National Stadium. Well done boys! pic.twitter.com/oj9NLAWmx7— OfficialNIFL (@OfficialNIFL) August 10, 2017
Barry Gray's Cliftonville welcome Ards to Solitude.
It'll be a return to competitive action for record-breaking Reds striker Joe Gormley - two years after he moved to Peterborough United and then picked up a serious injury:
However, Ards manager Colin Nixon says he knows what to expect after playing against 'Joe the Goal' at the end of his own Irish League career:.
After a lowly ninth place finish, Glentoran will hope to kick-start a revival when they travel to Ballinamallard.
Glens player Marcus Kane coming up after manager Gary Haveron...
Those four matches kick-off at 3pm.
Meanwhile, Warrenpoint have a 5.30pm start for their return to the Premiership, a Mid-Ulster derby against visiting Glenavon.
Former Portadown striker Darren Murray is hoping to hit the target on his Point debut...
@thepointfc U9s came along to show off their skills at the National Stadium as we launched the new #DanskeBankPrem season! pic.twitter.com/HGEFchyXUj— OfficialNIFL (@OfficialNIFL) August 10, 2017
Lurgan Blues keeper Jonathan Tuffey stands in Murray's way.
He's also welcomed Gary Hamilton signing his former Northern Ireland teammate Sammy Clingan:
So the stage is set for the 2017/18 campaign and Northern Ireland Football League Managing Director Andrew Johnston says whatever match you go to you should get your money's worth.
The new #DanskeBankPrem season is nearly upon us - and it all kicks-off tomorrow! What game are you going to this weekend? #itsnearlyback pic.twitter.com/6Yhon4fBag— OfficialNIFL (@OfficialNIFL) August 10, 2017
For a full breakdown of each team heading into the new season, check out Q Radio Sports club-by-club guide.