April Fools Day date for Glentoran and Linfield as IFA release fixtures
The scheduled Big Two meeting due to take place at the end of March has been put back a week.
The meeting of Glentoran and Linfield — which was to be played on the final Saturday before the Carling Premiership splits in half for the final five games of the season — has also been switched from the Oval to Windsor Park.
While the move from Saturday March 26 to Friday April 1 hasn’t been fully explained by the Irish FA, who have released a full fixture list for the remainder of the season, including provisional post-split matches, it is understood that improvement work being undertaken at the Oval isn’t due to be completed until early April.
That work is expected to be finished before the teams go head-to-head in east Belfast on Saturday April 16.
The Premiership’s sub-committee has taken the positions prior to today’s matches as their final positions to determine the post-split fixtures, with Lisburn Distillery currently placed fifth and Ballymena United sixth.
Should Portadown, Glenavon, Coleraine or Dungannon Swifts — currently placed in the bottom six — claim a place in the top half of the table come the end of the month they will automatically take over the fixtures of the team that they replace in the top six.
The IFA’s explanation of the situation stated: “To play the matches as scheduled up to the split (including a deferred Glentoran v Linfield game on match day 33) would create significant difficulties in scheduling fixtures with the potential for teams to be without a fixture for up to 21 days and then be required to play five matches in a period of 16 days
and the sub-Committee unanimously agreed that this was an unacceptable situation.
“The schedule has been amended for match day 33 to facilitate matches being played on all dates identified for post split fixtures and in order to conclude the season on Saturday 30 April 2011.”
Match Day 33, Saturday 26 March: Cliftonville v Glentoran; Crusaders v Linfield; Dungannon Swifts v Glenavon; Lisburn Distillery v Portadown; Newry City v Ballymena United; Coleraine v Donegal Celtic (if already determined that Coleraine will be bottom six after MD 32)
Match Day 34, Friday 1 April: Cliftonville v Donegal Celtic; Coleraine v Crusaders (if this fixture is crucial in determining top six, Coleraine v DC wouldn’t be played on MD 33); Linfield v Glentoran, Newry City v Glenavon
Match Day 34 Friday 8 April: Ballymena United v Lisburn Distillery; Dungannon Swifts v Portadown (subject to Portadown’s Irish Cup replay)
Match Day 35, Saturday 16 April: Crusaders v Ballymena United; Glentoran v Linfield; Lisburn Distillery v Cliftonville; Newry City v Portadown; Coleraine v Dungannon Swifts; Glenavon v Donegal Celtic
Match Day 36, Saturday 23 April: Crusaders v Lisburn Distillery; Linfield v Cliftonville; Glentoran v Ballymena United; Coleraine v Glenavon; Portadown v Donegal Celtic; Dungannon Swifts v Newry City
Match Day 37, Tuesday 26 April: Glentoran v Crusaders, Lisburn Distillery v Linfield, Ballymena United v Cliftonville, Portadown v Coleraine, Glenavon v Dungannon Swifts, Newry City v Donegal Celtic
Match Day 38, Saturday 30 April: Cliftonville v Crusaders; Glentoran v Lisburn Distillery, Ballymena United v Linfield; Glenavon v Portadown; Coleraine v Newry City, Donegal Celtic v Dungannon Swifts.by stuart mckinleY