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Holders Cliftonville to face Knockbreda while Linfield tackle PSNI in County Antrim Shield

 

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Late sting: Cliftonville's Joe Gormley and Chris Curran lead the celebrations after their last gasp County Antrim Shield triumph over Ballymena United at Windsor Park last season.

Late sting: Cliftonville's Joe Gormley and Chris Curran lead the celebrations after their last gasp County Antrim Shield triumph over Ballymena United at Windsor Park last season.

�INPHO/PressEye.com/Jonathan Po

Late sting: Cliftonville's Joe Gormley and Chris Curran lead the celebrations after their last gasp County Antrim Shield triumph over Ballymena United at Windsor Park last season.

Irish League champions Linfield will kick off the 2020-21 domestic season on October 10 with a home tie against PSNI in the ToalsBet.com County Antrim Shield, and if they progress they meet Carrick Rangers or Newington in the second round.

While the Northern Ireland Football League (NIFL) have only provided a provisional date (October 17) to start the new league campaign, the County Antrim FA are ahead of the game having made the draw for the opening two rounds of their flagship competition and instructing clubs when they will be played.

Linfield and Glentoran will enter the competition having already played European football this season.

There are some fascinating ties on what promises to be quite a day on the second Saturday of next month with Glentoran hosting Bangor, who are managed by ex-Linfield favourite Lee Feeney, and Crusaders at home to H&W Welders, whose boss is ex-Glens and Crues hero Gary Smyth.

Another interesting tie sees Larne play Ballyclare at Inver Park and new Knockbreda player Stephen Garrett will make an early return to Solitude to face his old side Cliftonville, who are the holders after a dramatic final victory last season over Ballymena United.

The Sky Blues have opted not to take part in this season's Shield competition due to what was described as a "business decision".

County Antrim Shield first round draw

Carrick Rangers v Newington, Crusaders v H&W Welders, Ards v Lisburn Distillery, Linfield v PSNI FC, Cliftonville v Knockbreda, Larne v Ballyclare Comrades, Glentoran v Bangor, Dundela v Queen's University.

Ties to be played on Saturday, October 10.

Second round draw

Cliftonville/Knockbreda v Dundela/Queen's University, Carrick Rangers/Newington v Linfield/PSNI FC, Larne/Ballyclare Comrades v Crusaders/H&W Welders, Glentoran/Bangor v Ards/Lisburn Distillery.

Ties to be played on Tuesday, October 13.

Belfast Telegraph