Crusaders and Linfield meet early in new Irish Premiership campaign

Richard Clarke celebrates a goal by Crusaders new boy David Cushley during a pre-season friendly with Annan Athletic
Richard Clarke celebrates a goal by Crusaders new boy David Cushley during a pre-season friendly with Annan Athleti

Irish Premiership champions Crusaders will face last year's runners-up Linfield in the third round of fixtures of the 2016-17 campaign on 13 August.

The Crues commence the defence of their title against Ballymena United on 6 August, with the Blues travelling away to play Ballinamallard United.

Newly-promoted Ards host Cliftonville in their opening fixture of the season.

Also on 6 August, Glenavon play Carrick Rangers, Glentoran host Dungannon Swifts and Coleraine play Portadown.

A round of midweek league matches is scheduled for Wednesday 10 August.

Portadown will begin the season with a 12-point deduction handed out for a registration breach involving Peter McMahon.

The publication of the fixtures was delayed because of Warrenpoint Town's appeal against their Premiership relegation, which was rejected at an arbitration hearing.

The club appealed the IFA's decision not to impose a penalty on Carrick Rangers after then manager Gary Haveron incorrectly served a ban.

A successful appeal would have left Carrick relegated and Warrenpoint taking part in a promotion/relegation play-off.

Full list of 2016-17 Danske Bank Premiership fixtures (Dates and kick-off times are subject to change by NIFL)

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