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The 2017–18 NIFL Premiership (known as the Danske Bank Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the 10th season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 117th season of Irish league football overall, and the fifth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The season began on 11 August 2017 and concluded on 28 April 2018, with the play-offs taking place in May 2018.

NIFL Premiership
Season2017–18
Dates11 August 2017 – 28 April 2018
ChampionsCrusaders
7th Irish title
RelegatedBallinamallard United
Carrick Rangers (via play-off)
Champions LeagueCrusaders
Europa LeagueColeraine
Glenavon
Cliftonville (via play-offs)
Matches played228
Goals scored717 (3.14 per match)
Top goalscorerJoe Gormley (Cliftonville)
(22)
Biggest home winCrusaders 7–1 Carrick Rangers
(18 November 2017)[1]
Biggest away winBallinamallard United 0–6 Linfield
(4 November 2017)[2]
Highest scoringBallinamallard United 6–4 Cliftonville
(26 January 2018)[3]

Linfield were the defending champions from the previous season.[4] On 28 April 2018, Crusaders won the title on the final day of the regular season, defeating Ballymena United 2–1 at the Ballymena Showgrounds to win the league title for the third time in four seasons.[5]

Crusaders qualified for the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up (and 2017–18 Irish Cup winners), Coleraine, along with third-placed Glenavon and the play-off winners, Cliftonville, all qualified for the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League.

TeamsEdit

Twelve teams competed in the 2017–18 NIFL Premiership. Portadown were relegated after finishing bottom of the 2016–17 NIFL Premiership and were replaced by Warrenpoint Town as the winners of the 2016–17 NIFL Championship.

Carrick Rangers finished second from bottom but retained their Premiership place after winning the promotion-relegation play-off against NIFL Championship promotion play-off winners Institute 5–2 on aggregate.

Stadia and locationsEdit

Locations of the Belfast-based 2017–18 NIFL Premiership teams
Club Stadium Location Capacity[6][7]
Ards Clandeboye Park Bangor 1,895 (500 seated)
Ballinamallard United Ferney Park Ballinamallard 2,000 (250 seated)
Ballymena United The Showgrounds Ballymena 3,050 (2,280 seated)
Carrick Rangers Taylors Avenue Carrickfergus 4,500 (250 seated)
Cliftonville Solitude Belfast 2,530 (all seated)
Coleraine The Showgrounds Coleraine 2,496 (1,106 seated)
Crusaders Seaview Belfast 3,383 (all seated)
Dungannon Swifts Stangmore Park Dungannon 5,000 (300 seated)
Glenavon Mourneview Park Lurgan 4,160 (4,000 seated)
Glentoran The Oval Belfast 6,054 (4,989 seated)
Linfield Windsor Park Belfast 18,167 (all seated)
Warrenpoint Town Milltown Warrenpoint 1,280 (150 seated)

League tableEdit

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation[a]
1 Crusaders (C) 38 28 7 3 106 38 +68 91 Qualification for the Champions League first qualifying round
2 Coleraine 38 26 11 1 76 31 +45 89 Qualification for the Europa League first qualifying round[b]
3 Glenavon 38 19 12 7 85 52 +33 69
4 Linfield 38 20 7 11 72 45 +27 67 Qualification for the Europa League play-offs[c]
5 Cliftonville (O) 38 20 5 13 68 45 +23 65
6 Ballymena United 38 14 6 18 53 65 −12 48
7 Glentoran 38 14 9 15 52 52 0 51[d] Qualification for the Europa League play-offs[c]
8 Dungannon Swifts 38 13 6 19 42 62 −20 45
9 Ards 38 12 4 22 42 74 −32 40
10 Warrenpoint Town 38 8 6 24 52 86 −34 30
11 Carrick Rangers (R) 38 6 5 27 31 78 −47 23 Qualification for the relegation play-offs
12 Ballinamallard United (R) 38 5 8 25 38 89 −51 23 Relegation to the NIFL Championship
Source: RSSSF
Rules for classification: 1) Points; 2) Goal difference; 3) Number of goals scored; 4) Head-to-head points; 5) Head-to-head goal difference; 6) Drawing of lots[8]
(C) Champion; (O) Play-off winner; (R) Relegated.
Notes:
  1. ^ Teams played each other three times (33 matches), before the league split into two groups (the top six and the bottom six) for the last five matches.
  2. ^ As 2017–18 Irish Cup winners, Coleraine, had already qualified for the Europa League as league runners-up, third-placed Glenavon were awarded the berth.
  3. ^ a b Cliftonville qualified for the Europa League first qualifying round by winning the Europa League play-offs.
  4. ^ After 33 games, clubs in the bottom half of the table at the split cannot climb into the top half, regardless of the results during matches 34–38.

ResultsEdit

Matches 1–22Edit

During matches 1–22 each team plays every other team twice (home and away).

Home \ Away ARD BMD BYM CRK CLF COL CRU DUN GLV GLT LIN WPT
Ards 2–1 1–0 1–0 0–1 0–3 2–4 0–1 0–2 0–1 0–2 2–1
Ballinamallard United 0–2 1–3 2–0 1–1 0–2 1–5 0–1 0–3 1–2 0–6 1–1
Ballymena United 6–3 2–1 3–1 1–0 0–2 1–4 2–1 1–6 1–3 2–1 3–3
Carrick Rangers 0–1 2–0 1–1 1–2 1–3 0–3 2–1 0–2 1–1 0–1 0–2
Cliftonville 6–3 5–0 1–0 3–0 1–2 1–2 2–1 1–1 1–0 3–2 2–0
Coleraine 4–1 2–1 1–1 3–0 2–0 1–1 1–0 4–2 3–0 2–1 2–1
Crusaders 0–0 2–0 2–1 7–1 2–0 1–2 1–1 2–3 1–0 2–1 5–0
Dungannon Swifts 0–0 2–0 2–1 4–0 0–4 1–3 0–4 0–3 0–2 0–4 2–1
Glenavon 3–0 6–2 4–0 2–0 3–1 2–2 3–4 1–1 2–2 0–1 1–0
Glentoran 0–2 2–1 1–1 1–1 0–2 0–0 0–3 2–0 1–3 2–1 2–0
Linfield 2–0 4–0 1–0 2–0 2–0 2–1 2–5 1–0 2–3 1–0 3–3
Warrenpoint Town 1–0 2–1 1–3 2–2 1–3 0–2 2–3 1–2 2–3 2–3 1–4
Source: RSSSF
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
For upcoming matches, an "a" indicates there is an article about the rivalry between the two participants.

Matches 23–33Edit

During matches 23–33 each team will play every other team for the third time (either at home, or away).

Home \ Away ARD BMD BYM CRK CLF COL CRU DUN GLV GLT LIN WPT
Ards 1–0 0–4 1–3 1–6 0–3
Ballinamallard United 0–4 6–4 2–5 0–3 2–2 2–2
Ballymena United 2–0 3–0 0–2 3–1 2–2 1–3
Carrick Rangers 2–2 0–1 1–0 1–2 1–2 1–2
Cliftonville 3–0 1–2 0–0 3–1 3–0 1–2
Coleraine 3–2 3–3 1–1 2–2 1–0
Crusaders 1–0 3–1 6–0 3–0 4–2
Dungannon Swifts 1–0 2–0 2–3 0–1 3–2 0–0
Glenavon 0–0 1–1 1–6 2–2 3–3
Glentoran 1–2 1–2 1–0 0–2 5–0
Linfield 2–0 1–2 0–0 0–2 1–1
Warrenpoint Town 3–3 1–0 1–3 1–4 3–0 1–3
Source: RSSSF
Colours: Blue = home team win; Yellow = draw; Red = away team win.
For upcoming matches, an "a" indicates there is an article about the rivalry between the two participants.

Matches 34–38Edit

During matches 34–38 each team will play every other team in their half of the table once. As this is the fourth time that teams play each other this season, home sides are chosen so that they will have played each other twice at home and twice away.

Play-offsEdit

UEFA Europa League play-offsEdit

As 2017–18 Irish Cup winners, Coleraine, finished as league runners-up, their original runners-up berth in the Europa League was redistributed to third-placed Glenavon. As a result, the four teams finishing 4th–7th took part in Europa League play-offs to decide which one team would qualify for the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.

Semi-finalsEdit

Linfield (4th)3 – 4Glentoran (7th)
Byrne   26'
Waterworth   51'
Fallon   90'
BBC Sport
Soccerway
Davidson   63' (pen.)
McGuigan   66'
Garrett   79'
Alen   84'

Cliftonville (5th)4 – 0Ballymena United (6th)
J. Donnelly   67'81'
Gormley   86'88'
BBC Sport
Soccerway

FinalEdit

Cliftonville (5th)3 – 2Glentoran (7th)
R. Donnelly   24'64'
Gormley   86'
BBC Sport
Soccerway
R. McDaid   79'
C. Allen   83' (pen.)

Cliftonville were the UEFA Europa League play-off winners, and qualified for the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.

NIFL Premiership play-offsEdit

Pre-play-offEdit

The runners-up and third-placed teams from the Championship were set to take part in a promotion pre-play-off match to decide which team would face the eleventh-placed Premiership team, Carrick Rangers, in the play-off for a place in next season's Premiership.[9] However, as the third-placed Championship team, Harland and Wolff Welders did not apply for a Premiership licence, the second-placed team, Newry City advanced directly to the play-off.

Play-offEdit

The eleventh-placed team from the Premiership, Carrick Rangers, played Championship runners-up, Newry City, over two legs for a place in the 2018–19 NIFL Premiership.

1st Leg
Newry City3 – 2Carrick Rangers
McCabe   19'
S.Hughes   24'
Carville   35' (pen.)
BBC Sport
NIFL
Henderson   4'
McNally   10'
Attendance: 1,200
Referee: Lee Tavinder

2nd Leg
Carrick Rangers1 – 3Newry City
McNally   29' NIFL S.Hughes   36' (pen.)
McCabe   56'
M.Hughes   74'
Attendance: 1,058
Referee: Evan Boyce

Newry City won 6–3 on aggregate and were promoted to the NIFL Premiership with Carrick Rangers dropping down into the NIFL Championship.

Top goalscorersEdit

As of 11 May 2018[10]
Rank Scorer Club Goals
1   Joe Gormley Cliftonville 24
2   Gavin Whyte Crusaders 22
3   Curtis Allen Glentoran 20
4   Paul Heatley Crusaders 19
  Jay Donnelly Cliftonville
6   Andrew Mitchell Glenavon 18
  Jordan Owens Crusaders
8   Darren McAuley Coleraine 17
9   Jamie McGonigle Coleraine 16
10   Ryan Curran Ballinamallard United 14

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Crusaders vs. Carrick Rangers". Soccerway. 18 November 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Ballinamallard United vs. Linfield". Soccerway. 4 November 2017. Retrieved 17 November 2017.
  3. ^ "Ballinamallard United vs. Cliftonville". Soccerway. 26 January 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  4. ^ Mills, Alex (29 April 2017). "Cliftonville 1–3 Linfield: Blues win Irish Premiership league title". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 11 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Irish Premiership:Crusaders are crowned champions". BBC. Retrieved 28 April 2018.
  6. ^ "AQW 1178/11". niassembly.gov.uk. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  7. ^ "Sport NI Annual review 2008/09" (PDF). sportni.net. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  8. ^ "NIFL Premiership Rules 2017–18" (PDF). NIFL. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  9. ^ "NIFL Championship Rules - 2017–18" (PDF). Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  10. ^ https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/irish-premiership/top-scorers

External linksEdit