Charity Shield returns to football calendar

Premiership champions Cliftonville will face Irish Cup runners-up Ballymena United as the Charity Shield returns to the Northern Ireland football calendar after a 14-year absence.

Irish Cup winners Glenavon are not available to play in the game on 2 August after arranging a friendly game for the same day but Ballymena boss Glenn Ferguson says his team are delighted to step into the breach.

Ferguson scored in the last Charity Shield game in 2000 when Linfield earned a 2-0 victory over Glentoran.

With Windsor Park unavailable because of ongoing redevelopment work, the game will be played at Solitude after Cliftonville won the toss for the venue.

The game will be played in support of the Northern Ireland Hospice.

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