Sat 31 July - 15:00 | Dixon Park

Ballyclare Comrades

McKenna 29', Heggarty 56'


Queen's University

Hughes 53'

Sat 31 July - 15:00 | Dixon Park


Ballyclare Comrades

McKenna 29', Heggarty 56'

Queen's University

Hughes 53'


For sponsorship info, please contact: [email protected]


For sponsorship info, please contact: [email protected]

Pre-Match Guide

The pre-match guide will show here the day before kick off…

We’re back to competitive football this Saturday as we take on Queen’s University in the first round of the Bet McLean League Cup at Dixon Park.

Match Info

When: Saturday 31st July, 2021 – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: Bet McLean League Cup First Round

Entry: Pay at the gate – Adult £8, Concession £5. A reminder to all season ticket holders that season tickets are not valid for cup competitions

The Opponents

Queen’s University come into the game in a very similar boat to the Comrades. No league campaign last year meant a ball was hardly kicked and unlike the Comrades, QUB decided not to take part in the Irish Cup. With the lack of recent match action, there’s very little to report on how the opponents might line-up this Saturday. If there’s one thing the Comrades can be sure of, it’s that Queen’s will be just as eager to hit the ground running in the first competitive game of the season.

The Comrades

If pre-season fixtures told the full story, they would say the Comrades have been defensively solid, yet struggled to find that killer instinct in the final third at times. We’re all aware there’s very little you can take from looking at friendly results though, with plenty of chopping and changing of teams. Fans will get a much better idea of how the team are performing come Saturday, in our first competitive fixture of the season. We may well see a few competitive debuts for some of the lads at the weekend.

Paul Harbinson’s summer signings have impressed throughout the friendlies and the manager had this to say about the upcoming fixture:

” It feels like it’s been the longest preseason in the world but thankfully at least it feels the same for all Championship clubs. We are so excited and relieved to finally be here at competitive football and with the new designation of Elite status, the season can get going with assurance that it’s here to stay.

“There will be a mixed bag this year of COVID instances and possibly increased injuries due to the year out, across the league, which will only add to the unpredictability of the Championship. We go forward positively and preparing for an enjoyable season of football.

“This week, we know what to expect from Queens, as Peter will have them well organised and disciplined as he always does. They are always very good with the ball and we will need to concentrate for 90 minutes if we want to compete.

“It’ll be nice to see familiar, and hopefully some new faces in the crowd cheering on the Comrades. We will give our all to ensure it’s worth the visit to Dixon Park.”

Last Time Out

2019/20 Championship Season was the last time we faced Queen’s. The Comrades were the victors that day with a 2-0 victory at Dixon Park in January 2020. Tom Mathieson opened the scoring in the first half before Joe Tully pounced on a mistake at the back to make it 2-0 with 6 minutes remaining. Queen’s ended the game with ten men following Marc McKenna’s stoppage time dismissal for a second yellow card after bringing down Gary Donnelly inside the box but, from the spot-kick that followed, Tully was denied by a save from Brown.


Match Report

Comrades started the new season with a win to progress in the League Cup in their first competitive game at Dixon Park for 17 months.

The visitors started the game marginally the better of the two teams and were the first to have a decent attempt on goal, when in the 5th minute a good curling effort struck from 22 yards by Marc McKenna forced Richard Purcell to turn the ball past the post.

The host’s first attempt came on 14 minutes when a long ball played forward by ‘keeper Purcell saw Joe Tully get on the end of it, but his resulting effort from 20 yards went just over the bar.

Comrades opened the scoring in the 29th minute. A great ball over the top from Elliot McKim discomforted the Queen’s defence and found Joe Tully. He then managed to slip the ball to Lim McKenna who made space to fire a great finish low into the bottom corner of the net from 7 yards for a goal on his competitive debut for the club.

Queen’s threatened to level the scores on 34 minutes when a low ball played in from the left was met by a crisp first-time shot hit by Marc McKenna from 8 yards, but Ricard Purcell was well-placed to make a save.

Comrades went in at the break with a narrow advantage, but it was the visitors who began the second half on the front foot. They got their reward with an equaliser in the 53rd minute when Matthew Hughes struck an excellent shot from 25 yards into the net giving Purcell little chance.

Three minutes later however Comrades’ lead was restored. Liam McKenna played the ball into the box from a free kick near the by-line. Queen’s couldn’t clear it and it broke to Ciaran Heggarty who thumped his effort into the net from 8 yards for another goal for a club debutant.

Buoyed by this the home side pressed forward to try to cement their advantage. In the 59th minute they thought they had scored again when Heggarty jumped to challenge the ‘keeper in the 6-yard box and headed the ball into the net, but the referee ruled it out for a foul.

Then, on 62 minutes, Joe Tully slipped the ball through to the Liam Hassin who surged into the box but found his effort from 13 yards blocked by Daniel Devine who had advanced quickly from his goal.

Comrades were now on top and looked capable of adding to their lead. In the 68th minute good possession round the box ended with Adam Gray running in to strike a rasping shot from an angle 14 yards out which forced the ‘keeper to turn the ball wide. Then two minutes later Gray played Joe Tully in for a chance from 9 yards, but his effort was deflected off a defender and the ‘keeper then was able to touch it wide of the target.

In the 81st minute the hosts came close to a third when a Liam McKenna corner saw the ball cleared back out to him and he played it back into the box where Elliot McKim arrived, but the ball just didn’t drop in time for him to be able to keep his volleyed effort from going over the bar.

On 85 minutes Liam Hassin had a well-struck effort from just outside the box saved by the well-placed ‘keeper after a good link-up with Andrew Mooney.

The final minutes of the match saw the visitors press for an equaliser, but the home defence held out well to seal the victory.


Match Photos