Baptism of fire for Hill’s Comrades

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Ballyclare Comrades face a baptism of fire start to the Championship 1 season with a local derby against a rejuvenated Larne team on the opening day, followed a week later by the visit of Dundela.

During the close season Larne boss Davy McAlinden has recruited a string of new players so Eddie Hill’s lads face a hot reception at Inver Park on August 9.

Other interesting fixtures in the first half of the season include Carrick Rangers at Taylor’s Avenue on October 18, and a visit from recently relegated Ards (November 15).

Over the Christmas period the Comrades entertain Dergview on December 27, followed by a trip to Knockbreda on January 3. The second half of the campaign gets under way with the return clash against Larne at Dixon Park on January 17.

The draw for the opening round of the Steel and Sons Cup is expected to be announced within the next few days, with the first round scheduled for August 16.

Eddie Hill has also has strengthened his squad with the signing of striker Randal Reid who has been with Ballymena United, and midfielder Andrew Simpson, while Stuart McClean will concentrate on playing this season.

The first of seven pre-season friendlies scheduled for July 17 away to Chimney Corner, followed by a home game against Wakehurst on July 22.

Meanwhile, applications are invited for the post of groundsman following the retirement of Don Horner. If interested in this part-time role contact new secretary, Drew Horner (02893 323 418).

On behalf of everyone at the Comrades, chairman Trevor McCann extends sympathy to Ballynure OB chairman, Michael Graham, after the death of his wife, Deborah.