Graham Luney's Irish league predictions December 13
I was going to state that managers feel the full force of injuries and suspensions coming up to the crucial festive period but ‘suspension’ has become a naughty word in the Irish League. You just don’t know who’s banned and who isn’t but never fear, the Irish FA will keep us right. All games kick off at 3pm tomorrow unless stated.
WARRENPOINT TOWN V PORTADOWN
This week’s Friday night offering (subject to Warrenpoint living up to its new nickname as the City of Light) is top v bottom. The Ports impressed against Crusaders last weekend but their title challenge will soar or sink based on their performances against sides they are expected to roll over.
Luney prediction: Warrenpoint T 1 Portadown 3
BALLYMENA UTD V CRUSADERS
Ballymena United have a big League Cup final four battle looming on Tuesday night so they could take their eye off the ball here, though boss Glenn Ferguson will warn against that. The Crues have fallen six points behind the Ports and need to give themselves a shake. If that gap at the top becomes nine points or more, the Crues’ dream will start to fade.
Luney prediction: Ballymena Utd 1 Crusaders 2
CLIFTONVILLE V INSTITUTE
Cliftonville will be hungry to hit back following their defeat to Coleraine last weekend but as boss Tommy Breslin stated, they could still be playing that match now and fail to score. Sometimes you are just out of luck and you cannot win them all. Unfortunately for Institute, they will suffer the backlash.
Luney prediction: Cliftonville 3 Institute 0
DUNGANNON SWIFTS V GLENTORAN
Glentoran are justifiably angry following the IFA Appeals Board ruling in the Gary Hamilton suspension case and that sense of injustice may spur them on to grab that top six place. The Swifts will be tough to topple at Stangmore but the Glens will be quietly confident they can secure their first away win since overcoming Warrenpoint at the end of October.
Luney prediction: Dungannon Swifts 1 Glentoran 3
GLENAVON V COLERAINE
What a win for Coleraine last week and they will fear no-one. Oran Kearney’s boys should be buzzing after that victory over the champions, but can they back it up? The Lurgan Blues would have a much better chance of charging up the table if they could keep the card count down and boss Gary Hamilton faces a two-match suspension from December 15, ruling him out of the trip to Ballinamallard and the Boxing Day scrap at Portadown.
Luney prediction: Glenavon 2 Coleraine 0
LINFIELD V BALLINAMALLARD UTD
Warren Feeney’s now-look Linfield team have mastered the art of getting the job done. That’s three wins on the bounce and only Portadown have celebrated more victories than the Blues this season.
Luney prediction: Linfield 2 Ballinamallard Utd 1