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Portadown ready to return to the big stage

 

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Matthew Tipton

Matthew Tipton

Matthew Tipton

Portadown are emerging as the big winners in what continues to be a turbulent week for Irish League football.

While the top-flight clubs still engage in heated debate over how to finish one of the longest seasons in the history of our game, Matthew Tipton and his men are poised to return to the top table.

Amid the confusion and lack of clarity surrounding how to conclude the Premiership campaign, it's clear that Portadown have been the most consistent side in the Championship and deserve to be named champions and join the big guns next season.

The Ports and Annagh United are both set to have their promotions confirmed after the Northern Ireland Football League's Covid-19 Steering Group made a recommendation to end their seasons immediately. Both the Championship and Premier Intermediate League, the second and third tiers of the Northern Ireland football pyramid, are set to have their campaigns concluded without any further matches taking place.

A mathematical calculation will be used to confirm final league placings.

Portadown currently lead the Championship, six points clear of Ballinamallard United, although having played a game more, while Annagh United are three points ahead of Portstewart in the PIL.

Portadown's three-year wait for a return to the Premiership will come to an end.

Promotion and relegation will apply to the automatic positions, with no play-offs.

The news that automatic relegation will take place will see PSNI drop down from the Championship, while Institute will be sweating at the foot of the Premiership.

Elsewhere, the NIFL Development and Academy Leagues are also to be brought to an immediate end while the Women's Premiership season, yet to begin, could be played later this year.

Belfast Telegraph