BLUEFIN SPORT CHAMPIONSHIP: MATCHDAY 29 PREVIEW

The Bluefin Sport Championship trophy gets handed over to champions Larne at Inver Park tomorrow, we look forward to all the Saturday matches.

Ballinamallard United v Dundela (venue: Ferney Park; kick-off: 3pm)

What a week it’s been for the Mallards! They secured their place in the Irish Cup final for the first time in their history after victory on penalties over Warrenpoint Town. They will enjoy a special homecoming this weekend against Dundela at Ferney Park and will be keen to maintain form going into the showpiece final.

It was revealed this week that Dundela will not be continuing with their promotion licence ambitions but having moved into third place last Saturday following their win over Portadown, they will still have a very important say in the promotion race and will look to keep up their unbeaten record against Harry McConkey’s men this season having won two and drawn one of the three meetings between the sides this season.

Dergview v Knockbreda (venue: Darragh Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Ivan Sproule’s Dergview looked to be comfortably heading towards Championship safety in recent weeks but the hammer blow of losing to relegation rivals Limavady United two weeks ago has opened it all up again at the bottom of the Bluefin Sport Championship. A home win for Dergivew could potentially take them closer to safety with the potential to leapfrog their opponents into ninth this weekend.

Knockbreda remain five points away from the relegation zone and have their destiny in their own hands for the remaining four games of the league season. They have also suffered defeat to a resurgent Limavady United in recent weeks and go into this clash off the back of a morale boosting 5-2 win over PSNI on 16 March in what was their last competitive outing.

HW Welders v Carrick Rangers (venue: Tillysburn Park; kick-off: 3pm)

The search continues for a new Welders manager as they welcome promotion hopefuls Carrick Rangers to Tillysburn Park. They have lost their last five league games in a row and start the day in sixth place.

Niall Currie and his Carrick Rangers side hold a seven point lead over third placed Dundela and could conceivably confirm their runners-up status if results go their way on Saturday. Rangers’ superb second half of the season continued with their 1-0 win over champions Larne on 16 March and they will be boosted going into this game with news that captain Mark Surgenor has signed a new contract with the East Antrim club as they look to bounce back to the Danske Bank Premiership at the first attempt.

Larne v Portadown (venue: Inver Park; kick-off: 3pm)

It’s the day all the Larne fans will have been patiently looking forward to as they finally get their hands on the Bluefin Sport Championship trophy at Inver Park in front of an expected huge crowd. Tiarnan Lynch’s side had boasted an impressive season and will return to the top flight for the first time since 2008 next season.

The Ports’ return to the Danske Bank Premiership took a huge blow last weekend as they dropped down to fourth after defeat to Dundela. Portadown have struggled post-split with only one win in their last six games in all competitions for Matthew Tipton’s young side and they have yet to take maximum points from any of their previous three encounters with Larne, losing twice and drawing once.

Limavady United v Ballyclare Comrades (venue: Limavady Showgrounds; kick-off: 3pm)

After looking dead and buried a few weeks ago, Sean Friars’ side have surprised onlookers with back to back wins against rivals Knockbreda and Dergview to pull themselves within three points of safety and make for a nervy final three games for the teams at the bottom of the table. The Roesiders have yet to find a win over Ballyclare in the three previous meetings this season.

The Comrades are secure of their Championship status for another season despite a disappointing season plagued by injuries at Dixon Park. They lost their last outing 4-1 to Loughgall at home on 23 March, which leaves Stephen Hughes’ side eighth in the table.

Loughgall v PSNI (venue: Lakeview Park; kick-off: 3pm)

Dean Smith’s Loughgall welcome PSNI to Lakeview Park knowing that their opponents will be fighting for their lives to avoid potential relegation to the Premier Intermediate League. PSNI are without a win in seven league games and have now dropped into the relegation playoff place with only three points separating them from the bottom of the table.

Loughgall start the afternoon comfortably in seventh place and off the back of a 4-1 win against Ballyclare Comrades in their last game.

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