Belfast Telegraph

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Crues handed Knockbreda tie to start their Shield defence


By Josh Bunting

Crusaders will kick off their County Antrim Shield defence against Knockbreda.

Stephen Baxter's side will take on the Championship 1 club in the first round on September 18.

Last season's beaten finalists Ballymena United's tie against H&W Welders will be played at a neutral venue on September 19.

That's because United's newly-laid pitch will not be ready until October.

Cliftonville welcome Lisburn Distillery to Solitude with Linfield hosting PSNI and Glentoran up against Queen's.

Carrick Rangers host Larne in an east Antrim derby with Ards at home to Dundela and Ballyclare Comrades hosting Intermediate club Newington.

The Crues overcame Ballymena 4-2 in last season's final.

All the first-round games, apart from the Sky Blues' tie against the Welders, will be played on Tuesday, September 18 with 7.45pm kick-offs.

TOALS BOOKMAKERS CO ANTRIM SHIELD FIRST-ROUND DRAW: Cliftonville v Lisburn Distillery, Crusaders v Knockbreda, Ballyclare Comrades v Newington, Linfield v PSNI, Ards v Dundela, Glentoran v Queen's University, Ballymena v H&W Welders, Carrick Rangers v Larne.

• Northern Ireland international Shay McCartan has signed a season long loan deal at League Two side Lincoln City.

The 24-year-old forward, who can be recalled, made 29 appearances for parent club Bradford last season, scoring four goals.

McCartan, who played for Glenavon before moving to Burnley in 2011, signed for Bradford last summer for a fee of £200,000 on a three-year deal.

He made his Northern Ireland debut against New Zealand last year and also featured recently against Costa Rica.

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