Northern Ireland’s iconic Parliament Buildings at Stormont proved the perfect back drop on Wednesday night for the Northern Ireland Football League to launch the new Danske Banke Premiership season.
Players, managers and chairmen from the 12 Irish League clubs were joined by Dankse Bank chief executive, Gerry Mallon and NIFL officials to officially kick-off the new season which starts on Saturday.
Launching the season, Gerard Lawlor, chairman of the Premiership Management Committee, said: “In such a short time the new League has established itself and continues to grow both on and off the field.
“On the field we have recently seen some fantastic performances by Clubs in European competition and off it we will be seeing the implementation of the NIFL strategy document which will not only bring great benefit to everyone involved in the League, but most importantly to improve the attractiveness of our product in bringing more fans, especially families, to games.”
He added: “I am looking forward to an exciting and competitive season in the Danske Bank Premiership.
“This is the third season with Danske Bank as the Title sponsor of the Premiership.
“It has proved to be an incredibly successful partnership for the NI Football League, and I thank them for their continued support for football in Northern Ireland.”
Mr Mallon said: “This summer we have seen some fantastic success stories from Northern Ireland sportsmen like Rory McIlroy and Team NI at the Commonwealth Games, but one of the greatest showcases of the sporting talent that exists in this country is without a doubt the Danske Bank Premiership.
“Danske Bank’s partnership with the Northern Ireland Football League is one of which we are immensely proud, and we look forward to evolving the partnership over the course of the new season.”
The opening fixtures on Saturday are (all 3pm)
Ballymena United v Warrenpoint Town; Cliftonville v Glentoran; Coleraine v Ballinamallard United; Dungannon Swifts v Institute; Glenavon v Crusaders; Portadown v Linfield.