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WATCH: Match Reaction | Paul Harbinson on Annagh United 5-1 Ballyclare Comrades

Paul Harbinson shared his thoughts following a disappointing afternoon away to Annagh United.

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Pre-Match Guide | Annagh United 14/08/21

The Comrades travel to Tandragee Road this Saturday in our latest Lough 41 Championship clash; this time the hosts are Annagh United.

Match Info

When: Saturday 14th August 2021 – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Tandragee Road

What: Lough 41 Championship

Entry: Pay at the gate, £8 (adult) / £5 concession

The Opponents

Annagh have been the victim of injury-time heartbreak in the opening 2 league games of the season. A victory against Ards on the opening day looked very much on the cards until they conceded with 6 minutes to go to level the scores at 2-2. They then received a further sucker-punch as Ards scored in the dying moments of the game to snatch victory away from Annagh. A similar story occurred on Tuesday evening where Knockbreda hosted Annagh at Breda Park. Goals from Campbell and Duffin had Annagh United 3-2 ahead right up until the 93rd minute when Knockbreda delivered another sucker punch blow, and the game finished all square. Annagh will be looking to chase those lost points when we travel to Tandragee Road on Saturday.

The Comrades

Another solid display on Tuesday evening against Institute seen the Comrades run out 3-1 winners and has us sitting top of the Lough 41 Championship going into gameweek 3. Manager, Paul Harbinson, hailed the professionalism of his squad following the long-distance travel to the Brandywell on Tuesday evening. Liam McKenna got the first goal direct from a corner kick, following a little confusion as to whether it was an own-goal or not. “His delivery is frightening,” said the boss “I love the fact he is so confident stepping up to every ball and we just know we’re going to get something from it.” Adam Gray and Joe Tully once again found the scoresheet and seem to have hit the ground running at the start of this campaign. There’s a long way to go for the Comrades but they will be hungry for more success as we travel to Tandragee Road tomorrow afternoon.

Last Time Out

Our last trip to Tandragee Road was a successful one as we ran out 4-0 winners against Annagh United in the 2016/17 Championship season. Annagh later went on to get relegated that season and have remained in the Premier Intermediate League until last season when they were promoted back into the Championship following the mathematical formula used by NIFL to award automatic promotion places.

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Media Officer Wanted

Ballyclare Comrades FC’s media team have an exciting new opening for a Media Officer on a voluntary basis.

A brilliant opportunity for an individual who is passionate about football and looking to develop their skillset. Working alongside a passionate team within a Championship side on the rise and developing all the time.

Attendance will be required at first team matches. Matchdays will take place on Saturday afternoons with the odd midweek game throughout the season.

Key Responsibilities

Attend first team league and cup fixtures

Assistance with pre-match preparation (liaise with management team)

Liaise with photographers / videographers for release of content on social media

Support the rest of the media team with general media work

Have innovative ideas to enhance the club’s public image

Ideal Candidate

IT skills are essential

A good organiser and strong communicator

A committed and reliable individual

A strong desire and willingness to work in football and operate on a voluntary basis

To apply and discuss the role further, please email scottsgault@gmail.com

The deadline for applications is ongoing and discussions will be arranged at the earliest possible opportunity.

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Pre-Match Guide | Institute 10/08/21

The Comrades travel to the Brandywell this Tuesday evening to take on Institute in our next league fixture.

Match Info

When: Tuesday 10th August 2021 – Kick-Off 7:45pm

Where: The Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium

What: 2021/22 Lough 41 Championship

Entry: For supporters, of either club, you may now buy your tickets via the following link: https://institutefc.co.uk/tickets.html

As an appreciation to football supporters, Institute have decided to reduce the admission rate to £5 (Adult) and £3 (12-17yrs) for their first home game.

U12’s free when accompanied by a paying adult – Tickets for U12’s can also be requested on ticket website when Adult ticket is purchased.

Supporters bus: There is a supporters bus running to the Brandywell and back to Ballyclare on Tuesday evening with limited seats available. Contact Justyn Wallace for more info.

The Opponents

Institute suffered a 5-0 away defeat to Dergview in the opening game of the season on Saturday and so manager, Sean Connor, will be looking for a reaction from his team come Tuesday evening. ‘Stute have a very young side this season, with @NIStats on twitter (Marshall Gillespie) calculating that they had the youngest starting XI in the Lough 41 Championship with an average age of 21.7 years old (the Comrades had an average age of 25 years old on Saturday, for comparison).

The Comrades

We had an emphatic start to our 2021/22 Lough 41 Championship campaign with a 5-1 victory over Ballinamallard United at the weekend. After going a goal down early on in the game, the Comrades fought back to see out, what ended up being a comfortable victory over the County Fermanagh side. Paul Harbinson hailed the work rate of his team while emphasising that “We’ve only won one game, it counts for nothing. It sounds great, but it means nothing.”

Last Time Out

You have to go back to the 2017/18 season for the last time we played Institute. ‘Stute were the victors that day, going in at the break 2 goals to the good. A second half comeback looked on at a stage when goals from an OG and Mark Kelly gave the Comrades some hope, but Institute proved too strong and ran out 4-2 victors on the day. Institute later went on to win the league that season and gained automatic promotion to the Premiership.

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Pre-Match Guide | Ballinamallard United 07/08/21

The Comrades take on the Mallards in the opening fixture of the 2021/22 Lough 41 Championship campaign.

Match Info

When: Saturday 7th August 2021 – Kick-Off 3:00pm

Where: Dixon Park

What: 2021/22 Lough 41 Championship

Entry: Pay at the turnstiles – Adult £8, Concession £5. Kids under 12 FREE (must be accompanied by a paying adult).

Season ticket holders, pass holders and directors to enter through the main gate, not the turnstiles.

Season tickets are available to purchase from our online store here or visit the club shop at Dixon Park on matchdays.

The Opponents

Ballinamallard will be looking to pick up where they left off in the 2019/20 Championship season. The Mallards were sitting in the playoff spots in second place when the league was called to a halt with eight games still to play. Since then, our upcoming opponents were knocked out of the 2020/21 Irish Cup First Round, following a marathon penalty shootout at home to Dergview. Pre-season has been very positive for Harry McConkey’s men with some promising friendly results, most recently being their 3-0 victory over Premiership opposition, Warrenpoint Town, last week.

The Comrades

The debutants were the stars of the show last week as goals from Liam McKenna and Ciaran Heggarty helped us overcome Queen’s University in the BetMcLean League Cup. Paul Harbinson will take confidence that his team remained composed throughout the 90 minutes and ultimately done enough to win the game, despite Queen’s making it extremely difficult throughout. We caught up with the manager during the week to discuss the mood in the camp, what he expects from Ballinamallard and the upcoming season – watch the interview at the link below:

Last Time Out

Two second half goals secured a 2-0 victory for the Comrades the last time these two sides met in October 2019 at Dixon Park. Scoreless at the break, Luckas Adamczyk opened the scoring on 67 minutes with an excellent turn and shot into the bottom corner from 11 yards after Ciaran Dobbin had touched the ball on. Then, a minute from time, Thomas Robinson made sure of the points with a 20-yard curling effort which Mallards keeper John Connolly couldn’t keep out despite getting a hand to it.

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Eoghan Devine signs for the Comrades!

The 19 year old midfielder joins from Coleraine.

“Eoghan has impressed with both his ability and his attitude since he arrived in preseason,” said Paul Harbinson. “His determination to do well and to keep improving is a huge asset to the club.”

Eoghan will wear the number 28 shirt this season and you can sponsor Eoghan for the 2021/22 season here.

Welcome to Dixon Park, Eoghan.

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Pre-Match Guide | Queen’s University 31/07/21

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.

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Chris Ramsey named as club captain

Paul Harbinson has hailed Chris Ramsey’s leadership qualities after confirming the centre half as our new club captain.

The experienced defender takes the armband, following the departure of previous club captain, JB Dobbin.

So why does Harbinson feel that Ramsey is the best man for the job?

“Right from the very first meeting, we were convinced that Chris was the right type of person for this club. His attitude and professionalism stood out a mile and his determination to succeed is very obvious.

“He is a winner who demands high standards of himself and those around him. In the short space of time since his arrival, he has commanded the respect of his peers in the dressing room, making him the obvious choice of natural leader to move the club forward.”