Annagh’s first start as second-tier league side will feature derby date

Annagh United manager Dean Smith.
Annagh United manager Dean Smith.

Annagh United may be fresh additions to NIFL Championship 1 but will kick off life in the Irish League’s second tier against familiar opposition.

The fixture list has handed Annagh home advantage on Saturday, August 8 for the first fixture of the league season - with derby rivals Armagh City to visit town.

Armagh and Annagh have long-standing links on and off the field, with Shea Campbell and Jordan Bell - following summer transfers to the city - the latest players to share time on the books of both clubs.

Annagh manager Dean Smith previously played for Armagh along with coach Alan Murphy. Gary McKinstry, another member of the Tandragee Road backroom staff, is a former Armagh boss.

“I spent 11 years with Armagh City and it is a club I have a lot of respect for, as do so many at Annagh United,” said Murphy. “We have good friends at Armagh and it is great to start the season with a derby.

“We will need every advantage next season to help us adjust to a first Championship 1 campaign so it would be great to have a strong home support behind us.”

Annagh will start the pre-season schedule at home to Hanover on Saturday, July 18 - with other games planned against Warrenpoint Town and Dungannon Swifts.

The latest addition to the Tandragee Road squad is Peter Mallon, a former Dungannon Swifts player.

The full list of fixtures:

AUGUST: 08 - Armagh City (h); 15 - Institute (a); 22 - Donegal Celtic (a).

SEPTEMBER: 05 - Ards (h); 19 - Loughgall (h).

OCTOBER: 03 - H&W Welders (a); 10 - Bangor (h); 17 - Lisburn Distillery (a); 24 - Larne (a).

NOVEMBER: 07 - Knockbreda (h); 14 - Dergview (a); 28 - Ballyclare Comrades (h).

DECEMBER: 19 - Lurgan Celtic (h).

JANUARY: 01 - Armagh City (a); 16 - Dergview (h); 30 - Bangor (a).

FEBRUARY: 06 - Ards (a); 20 - Lisburn Distillery (h); 27 - Larne (h).

MARCH: 12 - Ballyclare Comrades (a); 19 - H&W Welders (h); 26 - Lurgan Celtic (h).

APRIL: 02 - Institute (h); 16 - Knockbreda (a); 23 - Loughgall (a); 30 - Donegal Celtic (h).