2016–17 NIFL Premiership

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NIFL Premiership
Season2016–17
Dates6 August 2016 – 29 April 2017
ChampionsLinfield
52nd Irish title
RelegatedPortadown
Champions LeagueLinfield
Europa LeagueCrusaders
Coleraine
Ballymena United (via play-offs)
Matches played228
Goals scored688 (3.02 per match)
Top goalscorerAndrew Mitchell (Dungannon Swifts) (25)
Biggest home winCrusaders 6–0 Ballymena United
(6 August 2016)

Dungannon Swifts 6–0 Portadown
(8 October 2016)
Biggest away winPortadown 0–5 Linfield
(26 November 2016)

Portadown 0–5 Glentoran
(3 January 2017)
Highest scoringBallymena United 3–4 Ards
(20 August 2016)

Crusaders 4–3 Cliftonville
(1 October 2016)
Ballymena United 3–4 Glenavon
(3 January 2017)
Crusaders 6–1 Glenavon
(29 April 2017)
Highest attendance7,504
Linfield 1–1 Glentoran
(26 December 2016)[1]
Lowest attendance173
Carrick Rangers 0–3 Dungannon Swifts
(24 September 2016)[2]
Total attendance243,738
Average attendance1,074

The 2016–17 NIFL Premiership (known as the Danske Bank Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the ninth season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 116th season of Irish league football overall, and the fourth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The fixtures were announced on 7 July 2016.[3] The season began on 6 August 2016 and ended on 29 April 2017, with the play-offs taking place in May 2017.

Crusaders were the two-time defending champions after winning the title for the previous two seasons. On 29 April 2017, Linfield beat Cliftonville 3–1 to win their 52nd league title on the final day of the season.[4]

It was an unlikely title win for Linfield, as after a 1–0 home defeat to Coleraine in January 2017, they sat seven points behind defending champions, Crusaders. A 1–1 draw at home against Portadown on 17 February 2017 meant the gap had grown to nine points with nine games left to play. However, Linfield won all nine of their remaining games, going unbeaten in their last 14 games of the season since the Coleraine defeat, winning 13 of them and drawing the other (the 1–1 draw against Portadown). They picked up 40 out of a possible 42 points to capitalise on Crusaders dropping points, and pipped them to the title on the final day of the season by two points.

Linfield qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Champions League. The runners-up, Crusaders, along with third-placed Coleraine and the play-off winners, Ballymena United, qualified for the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League.

Teams[edit]

Twelve teams competed in the 2016–17 NIFL Premiership. Warrenpoint Town were relegated after finishing bottom of the 2015–16 NIFL Premiership and after a failed appeal against an IFA ruling not to deduct points from Carrick Rangers after their manager incorrectly served a touchline ban.[5] Warrenpoint Town were replaced by Ards as the winners of the 2015–16 NIFL Championship.[6]

Ballinamallard United finished second from bottom but retained their Premiership place after winning the promotion-relegation play-off against NIFL Championship runners-up Institute 5–4 on aggregate.[7] Portadown started this season with a 12-point deduction, after the IFA found the club guilty of breaching the rules by paying Peter McMahon, despite the player being contracted to the club as an amateur.[8] The club appealed against the decision, but this was rejected in October 2016.[9]

Stadia and locations[edit]

Locations of the Belfast-based 2016–17 NIFL Premiership teams
Club Stadium Location Capacity[10][11]
Ards Clandeboye Park Bangor 1,895 (500 seated)
Ballinamallard United Ferney Park Ballinamallard 2,000 (250 seated)
Ballymena United The Showgrounds Ballymena 3,050 (2,200 seated)
Carrick Rangers Taylors Avenue Carrickfergus 4,500 (150 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)
Portadown Shamrock Park Portadown 3,940 (2,765 seated)

League table[edit]

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification or relegation[a]
1 Linfield (C) 38 27 8 3 87 24 +63 89 Qualification for the Champions League first qualifying round
2 Crusaders 38 27 6 5 83 36 +47 87 Qualification for the Europa League first qualifying round[b]
3 Coleraine 38 18 11 9 56 42 +14 65
4 Ballymena United (O) 38 18 5 15 75 73 +2 59 Qualification for the Europa League play-offs[c]
5 Cliftonville 38 17 7 14 55 50 +5 58
6 Glenavon 38 13 13 12 55 55 0 52
7 Dungannon Swifts 38 14 10 14 67 59 +8 52[d] Qualification for the Europa League play-offs[c]
8 Ards 38 13 8 17 61 70 −9 47
9 Glentoran 38 12 10 16 45 53 −8 46
10 Ballinamallard United 38 10 5 23 45 72 −27 35
11 Carrick Rangers (O) 38 5 7 26 31 79 −48 22 Qualification for the relegation play-offs
12 Portadown (R) 38 7 4 27 28 75 −47 13[e] 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[13]
(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. ^ 2016–17 Irish Cup winners, Linfield, had already qualified for the Champions League as league champions. As a result, a Europa League berth was passed down to third-placed Coleraine.
  3. ^ a b Ballymena United 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.
  5. ^ Portadown were deducted 12 points for a player registration breach.[12]

Results[edit]

Matches 1–22[edit]

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

Home \ Away ARD BMD BYM CRK CLF COL CRU DUN GLV GLT LIN POR
Ards 3–3 2–4 3–1 2–2 1–2 0–1 3–3 0–1 2–0 0–2 1–0
Ballinamallard United 2–1 0–1 1–3 1–2 0–3 0–1 2–0 1–1 2–1 1–2 1–2
Ballymena United 3–4 4–0 2–0 3–2 2–0 2–1 1–4 3–3 4–1 1–4 2–0
Carrick Rangers 1–1 3–3 1–4 0–3 2–0 1–4 0–3 0–0 1–2 0–2 1–1
Cliftonville 2–0 1–0 2–0 1–0 1–0 0–4 1–2 3–0 2–0 2–1 1–0
Coleraine 1–1 3–1 2–2 2–0 0–1 1–1 2–2 2–2 4–1 1–1 3–0[a]
Crusaders 1–0 5–1 6–0 3–1 4–3 1–0 3–1 3–1 2–2 0–0 2–1
Dungannon Swifts 1–2 3–2 2–2 3–1 1–1 4–0 0–1 1–1 0–1 0–4 6–0
Glenavon 1–0 0–1 5–0 4–0 3–2 1–0 3–3 0–1 1–1 2–2 1–0
Glentoran 1–0 1–1 2–3 0–1 2–1 0–1 1–3 1–0 2–2 1–2 0–0
Linfield 4–0 4–0 2–1 3–0 1–2 1–1 0–0 1–1 4–0 1–1 4–1
Portadown 0–3[b] 2–1 0–2 4–0 0–3 0–1 0–1 2–0 3–0[c] 0–1 0–5
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 match.
  1. ^ Match awarded 3–0 to Coleraine due to Portadown forfeiting the game after they were suspended from all football activity for non-payment of a £5,000 fine.[14]
  2. ^ Match awarded 3–0 to Ards due to Portadown fielding a suspended player; original result was Portadown 3–1 Ards.[15]
  3. ^ Match awarded 3–0 to Portadown due to Glenavon fielding a suspended player; original result was 2–2 draw.[16]

Matches 23–33[edit]

During matches 23–33 each team played 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 POR
Ards 2–0 4–2 0–4 2–4 1–0 1–3
Ballinamallard United 1–2 1–0 1–2 1–2 1–0
Ballymena United 3–1 1–1 3–2 3–4 2–4 3–0
Carrick Rangers 1–2 0–1 0–0 0–2 3–2
Cliftonville 2–1 2–1 0–0 0–0 1–1 3–0
Coleraine 3–1 2–0 1–0 2–1 2–0 4–2
Crusaders 3–1 2–1 3–0 1–0 1–2
Dungannon Swifts 3–3 2–2 2–2 1–2 1–4
Glenavon 3–0 2–2 1–2 0–1 2–0 1–2
Glentoran 0–1 1–0 0–3 2–2 0–0 0–1
Linfield 5–1 2–0 2–0 0–1 1–1
Portadown 0–3 1–1 0–1 1–2 0–5
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 match.

Matches 34–38[edit]

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

Play-offs[edit]

UEFA Europa League play-offs[edit]

Teams finishing fourth to seventh took part in Europa League play-offs to decide which team would qualify for next season's Europa League first qualifying round.

Semi-finals[edit]

Ballymena United (4th)5–2Dungannon Swifts (7th)
Kane Goal 3'40'
McKinney Goal 36'
McMurray Goal 70'
Owens Goal 82'
BBC Sport
Soccerway
Lowe Goal 64'
Glackin Goal 74'
Referee: Ian McNabb

Cliftonville (5th)3–5Glenavon (6th)
Winchester Goal 7'
Curran Goal 33'
J. Donnelly Goal 42'
BBC Sport
Soccerway
Marshall Goal 3'
Moorhouse Goal 40'
Singleton Goal 49'
Gray Goal 69'
McGrory Goal 72' (pen.)
Referee: Tim Marshall

Final[edit]

Ballymena United (4th)2–1Glenavon (6th)
Friel Goal 53'
Braniff Goal 80'
BBC Sport
Soccerway
Marshall Goal 67'

NIFL Premiership play-offs[edit]

Pre-play-off[edit]

The runners-up and third-placed teams from the Championship, Institute and Ballyclare Comrades respectively, took part (over two legs) in a pre-play-off.

Ballyclare Comrades1–0Institute
Report

Institute3–1Ballyclare Comrades
Report

Institute won 3–2 on aggregate.

Play-off[edit]

The eleventh-placed team from the Premiership, Carrick Rangers, played the winners of the pre-play-off, Institute, over two legs for one spot in the 2017–18 NIFL Premiership.

Institute1–1Carrick Rangers
McCrudden Goal 41' BBC Sport
Soccerway
Murray Goal 43' (pen.)
Referee: Lee Tavinder

Carrick Rangers4–1Institute
McVey Goal 11'
McCullough Goal 25'
O'Brien Goal 71'80' (pen.)
BBC Sport
Soccerway
Morrow Goal 12'

Carrick Rangers won 5–2 on aggregate and retained their spot in the NIFL Premiership for the 2017–18 season; Institute remained in the NIFL Championship.

Top goalscorers[edit]

As of 18 April 2017
Rank Scorer Club Goals[17]
1 Northern Ireland Andrew Mitchell Dungannon Swifts 25
2 Northern Ireland Paul Heatley Crusaders 21
3 Northern Ireland Andrew Waterworth Linfield 20
Northern Ireland Jordan Owens Crusaders 20
5 Northern Ireland Cathair Friel Ballymena United 17
6 Northern Ireland Curtis Allen Glentoran 16
7 Northern Ireland Tony Kane Ballymena United 14
Northern Ireland Aaron Burns Linfield 14
Northern Ireland Jamie McGonigle Coleraine 14
10 Northern Ireland Johnny McMurray Ballymena United 12
11 Northern Ireland Adam Lecky Ballinamallard United 11
Northern Ireland Michael Ruddy Ards 11
13 Republic of Ireland Greg Moorhouse Glenavon 10
Northern Ireland Gavin Whyte Crusaders 10
Northern Ireland James Mclaughlin Coleraine 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.irishleaguesupporters.com/attteam.php?atthometeam=Linfield&attseason=1617&atthomeaway=home
  2. ^ http://www.irishleaguesupporters.com/attteam.php?atthometeam=Carrick%20Rangers&attseason=1617&atthomeaway=home
  3. ^ "2016–17 SEASON FIXTURES RELEASED". nifootballleague.com. 7 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  4. ^ "Irish Premiership: Linfield clinch title by beating Cliftonville". BBC Sport. 29 April 2017. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Warrenpoint Town relegated after appeal dismissed". BBC Online. 20 June 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  6. ^ "IRISH LEAGUE: Ards promoted to Danske Bank Premiership". News Letter. 30 April 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Irish Premiership play-off: Late Mallards goal secures aggregate win". BBC Online. 22 June 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Portadown down 12 points in Danske Bank Premiership season following IFA fine". Belfast Telegraph. 14 June 2016. Retrieved 23 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Portadown lose 12-point deduction appeal as Coleraine are awarded 3-0 win". BBC Sport. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  10. ^ "AQW 1178/11". niassembly.gov.uk. 18 October 2010. Retrieved 21 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Sport NI Annual review 2008/09" (PDF). sportni.net. p. 18. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  12. ^ "Portadown handed 12-point deduction for next season over Peter McMahon case - BBC Sport". BBC Online. BBC Sport. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  13. ^ "Premiership 2016/2017 - Season rules". Scoresway. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  14. ^ "Portadown lose 12-point deduction appeal as Coleraine are awarded 3-0 win". BBC Sport. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Portadown forfeit match against Ards after playing suspended Robert Garrett". BBC Sport. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  16. ^ "Glenavon to appeal IFA ruling on David Elebert". BelfastLive. 6 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  17. ^ "FIFA NI Premiership top scorers". Retrieved 11 August 2016.

External links[edit]