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Ballymacash Rangers vs Bangor preview: A face-off of the two early pace-setters

This weekend, at least one perfect record will fall as the two table-toppers who between them are yet to drop a point in league play face off. In the return to Premier Intermediate League action three weeks on from the last fixture, Bangor make the trip to Lisburn to face newly-promoted Ballymacash Rangers. It is worth noting the slightly earlier kick-off time of 1pm, due to the Northern Ireland vs Kosovo Nations League match later in the day.

These are clashes that often determine levels and capabilities, that can announce to challengers the task to come. The Cash have hit the ground running in their first bow at this level and their results and performances have proved eye-catching, which sets up a finely poised contest that both sides enter into with an upbeat trajectory.

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Bangor Ladies season review: The means to go on to even better things

The season just passed must surely rank among the most important in the history of Bangor Ladies. It was one where major developments were made on and off the pitch, where there were big wins and successes to savour, where there were milestones and markers to revel in and where there was an acceleration of the action plan to ensure further delights are enjoyed in years to come.

The aim for this campaign was to see sincere progress, be it in the growth in on-pitch displays or in the league standings. 2022 threw up a variation of tests and trials in that respect, allowing limits and capabilities to be discovered and expanded among the first-team fold, while new drafts for bolstering the academy as a pathway to the senior side are coming to fruition. It is fair to say some significant early objectives have already been met.

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Bangor 4-0 Strabane Athletic: No drama in a welcome return to winning ways

Six third-tier teams entered the second round of the Irish Cup. An upset-laden first round indicated that more shocks and surprises could perhaps have been on the horizon, however all six who entered their ties secured safe passage to the next stage of Irish football’s oldest cup competition.

That included Bangor, who soundly saw Strabane Athletic off in a strong performance at Clandeboye Park on Saturday. The Seasiders, after two without victory, needed a swift return to winning ways with tricky tests to come – no less a titanic clash of table-toppers this weekend coming – and they did so with style and substance.

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Bangor vs Strabane Athletic: The cup adventure continues

A new type of test awaits for the Seasiders this Saturday afternoon (1:30pm kick-off), where Strabane Athletic visit Clandeboye Park in an eye-catching Irish Cup second round clash. Following Cliftonville and Annagh United – high-flyers in the respective first and second-tiers of Northern Irish football – comes a club from the fourth-division Intermediate League. Not that any undue disrespect should be given.

It ranks as one of the longest away days a club can have in the footballing sphere here. Near enough a two-hour journey inland for the visitors, from just a few short miles from the western border with Co Donegal to a far more eastern venue in Co Down. Such escapades always make one extra keen to come away with all the spoils.

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Bangor 0-4 Annagh United: Just one of those days

Not every field is lined with strawberries. A tough test it always was in prospect for Bangor in the BetMcLean League Cup with the 2nd-placed side in the Championship – and only off the top on goal difference – coming to town, and it lived up to that billing from the outset.

Annagh United secured progression into the second round of the competition, and sealed it quite handsomely. They struck twice unanswered in either half to put their name in the hat in a night of few upsets overall, showing their class and quality as well as why they are in the conversation for top-tier promotion.

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The Comments Section

Northern Irish stadia and facility upgrades are required imminently

Don’t take this opinion piece the wrong way. It is obviously tremendous news that we are seeing reports by clubs of full attendances for matches. The attraction of the product, heightened exponentially from a decade ago, is such that greater crowds gathering to watch their local team in Northern Ireland is entirely justifiable. However, caveats must be accounted for, and the reality is this is no bar to settle on. There is much still to be done.

Cliftonville – prior to the postponement of the fixture owing to the sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen the previous day – confirmed their home capital derby game with Glentoran was a sell-out. That the communities of north and east Belfast and beyond took full avail of their allocation was delightful to see, but it also doesn’t tell the whole story.


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Bangor vs Annagh United preview: The League Cup beckons

Following the postponement of the weekend’s football after the sad passing of Her Majesty The Queen last Thursday, it will have been a full week between fixtures by the time Bangor face high-flying Annagh United in the BetMcLean League Cup tonight (7:45pm kick-off).

In the first round of this tournament, third in line of the list of priorities if one were looking from the Premiership perspective, the Seasiders will be eager to do one better than last week’s spirited display against top-flight high-flyers Cliftonville. Those flying the flag on the pitch are hopeful of a diligent and dedicated performance being translated into a win and progression to the 16-team stage two.

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Bangor 0-0 Cliftonville (4-5 on penalties): Shield heartbreak but still a proud night

As they say, it was so near yet so far. Bangor took Cliftonville all the way to spot-kicks in the County Antrim Shield first round after a goalless draw in regulation, with the Reds prevailing in sudden death to secure their progression to the quarter-finals.

It was a gallant effort from the hosts that did not go to waste, however. The investment of energy and the ability to go toe to toe with one of Northern Ireland’s top football teams speaks a lot of the quality within the collective group.

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Bangor vs Cliftonville preview: Bring on the Shield

The County Antrim Shield is Bangor’s port of call now, as the visit of Cliftonville beckons in a 16-strong first round. While it is a competition perhaps lower down the list of priorities for teams like the Reds compared to the Premiership and the Irish Cup, it is still a trophy rich in history and has stood the test of time. It is an honour teams want to win as the quest to stop a Larne three-peat begins.

The Seasiders undeniably go in as underdogs against last term’s marginal runners-up in the top flight. On paper, it is the toughest test of the month – but the momentum generated from positive results so far can spur on a spirited performance.

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Bangor 3-0 Dollingstown: Another win to nil to start the season

The immediate focus now switches to positive progress in the cup competitions, but not before Bangor upheld their perfect record to start the Premier Intermediate League season. Another win for three from three and a full nine points out of nine.

A 3-0 defeat of Dollingstown – who to that point had yielded a couple of commanding wins against top-half teams last term Banbridge Town and Armagh City – keeps up a trend of the team both putting the ball in the back of the opposite net and keeping it out of their own.

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Bangor vs Dollingstown preview: Clash of perfect records at Clandeboye

A busy month of September awaits the Seasiders, with six matches spread across five fronts. There is the County Antrim Shield (Cliftonville), Steel and Sons Cup third stage (Belfast Celtic), Irish Cup second round (Strabane Athletic) and League Cup first level (Annagh United) to contest.

There are also two Premier Intermediate League fixtures, with a trip on the further horizon to the Bluebell to face newly-promoted Ballymacash Rangers. More imminently, however, is the visit of Dollingstown to Clandeboye Park this Saturday.

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Tales From The Homeland

Glenavon F.C.: A provincial team on top of the Irish League? Go on then

The island of Ireland is split by a border to this day, but both in pre- and post-partition times, the football landscape was led by teams from Belfast.

Two powerhouses of the early game, Linfield and Belfast Celtic, were split by just a few hundred yards in the city’s south. Glentoran, the beast of the east, posed a threat to their title aspirations from the other side of the city.

Cliftonville, by then an amateur status side and the island’s oldest club, and their founder John McAlery were fundamental in the creation of the Irish Football Association (IFA). His status in their history is cemented with the now semi-professional outfit’s Solitude stadium’s single-tier grandstand being named after him.

But in the post-war era, a sea change was to occur. A side from Lurgan would open new floodgates by displaying that provincial clubs could hold their own. Not just that they could compete in the league, but compete at the very top.

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Limavady United 0-1 Bangor: Battling win on a long northern journey

Bangor left the Limavady Showgrounds with three points in the bag and two wins in two in the Premier Intermediate League. Alongside newly-promoted Ballymacash and Dollingstown, the Seasiders are one of three early pace-setters with maximum points at this early stage of the season.

This win was distinctly different to the victories to date. It proved as battling a contest with Limavady as could be forecasted – particularly in the second half – but there was enough resolve across the team to hold an early advantage right until the game’s end.

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Limavady United vs Bangor preview: It’s one down and onto the next

No sooner is one Premier Intermediate League match done and dusted than another is on the immediate horizon. Following on from Wednesday’s comprehensive victory in their league curtain-raiser against Lisburn Distillery, Bangor have their eyes swiftly cast to a trip up north to face Limavady United

The Seasiders’ first away day in league play is one of the longest trips on the calendar, a trip to the Limavady Showgrounds to face a team who last season were in promotion contention. By no means can it be expected that this will be a simple three points to claim.

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Bangor 5-0 Lisburn Distillery: Three crucial points in the curtain-raiser

It was a scintillating start to Premier Intermediate League proceedings for Bangor. The team looked sharp and up and at it from the first peep of the referee’s whistle, and a recent trend of hitting the back of the net early was continued.

The damage was largely done in the first half, little let-up from minute one and with the scoreline reading five-nil in Bangor’s favour, a stylish statement of intent was made. Spirits were high in the camp at the match’s end, and the focus quickly turns to making sure the trend continues at the Limavady Showgrounds on Saturday.

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Bangor vs Lisburn Distillery preview: a match-up of pride and pedigree

Bangor’s 2022/23 Premier Intermediate League campaign starts imminently. The visit of Lisburn Distillery to Clandeboye Park tonight (Wednesday) kicks off a new league season, and it will be at the forefront of everyone’s minds that they do what they can to start in the right way.

With a couple of valuable victories, firstly in the Irish Cup first round by defeating Queen’s University 2-0 and then last Saturday’s 0-8 Steel and Sons Cup second stage win against Greenisland, the Seasiders have already built up a bit of positive momentum ahead of this clash.

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The Big PIL Preview: Who lies in wait for the Seasiders this season?

Bangor’s Premier Intermediate League season is on the verge of starting. Another campaign of hopefully jostling near the top of the tree for a Championship step-up alongside some esteemed sides in the Irish League pyramid.

In this division, there are some fascinating stories and tales to tell. The Seasiders share a league with a side who once opportunistically faxed in to try to recruit Argentine striker Carlos Tevez from Manchester City on loan. Another team stand as the only one that the great George Best played senior competitive football for on these shores.

Most are familiar foes, but two are new entries – one of whom has never played at this level before. Even those tasked with keeping our streets safe spend some of their off-time playing football at this competitive level. There is lots of intrigue to be had and felt, and the Seasiders will hope that by the end, the pain of missing out on promotion last term is not repeated.

You could call this ‘the big one’. Presenting to you – a preview of the 11 teams Bangor are to face home and away in pursuit of an ultimate prize.

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Bangor Ladies 3-3 Crewe United Ladies: The season-end, but a project still just starting

For Bangor Ladies last Wednesday, it was the final day of what has been a profitable season. While there was a feel of disappointment that they did not ultimately secure the 3rd-place finish they craved, there is a lot to feel good about going forward.

Despite the bulk of the chances and a lot of positive link-up, Crewe’s efficiency ultimately denied the hosts the three points. The consensus view gauged around the ground is ‘the only way is up’, and if not the result then the display certainly reflected that attitude.

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Greenisland 0-8 Bangor: No slip-up in the Steel and Sons journey

If Lee Feeney had said he wanted more after the victory over Queen’s, he certainly got more at Glenkeen Avenue against Greenisland. It was a ruthless display on the road for the Seasiders, a goal-glut with a clear cushion created early in the day which continued to be built on.

The Steel and Sons Cup always has the potential to throw up thrills and spills, but they were averted on this occasion. Resultingly, progression to the third round ­– another away day against Belfast Celtic, who defeated Rosario on the Friday – was confirmed by the end.

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Greenisland vs Bangor preview: The Steel and Sons, bringing jolly good fun to the calendar

The Steel and Sons Cup. The pinnacle of Intermediate competition in Northern Ireland. A tournament which Bangor have not hidden their intent to win for the time they have played in the third-tier and below.

Last year’s journey left a bittersweet taste. It is a trophy every team wants to have in their cabinet. The Seasiders already had a few, and hopes were high of adding to it last year. Alas, in a cold, dark night in north Belfast, it ended despondently. Now the quest to go a couple of steps further begins with a possibly slippery away trip.