Cliftonville to play Ballymena in Charity Shield

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Charity Shield

Premiership champions Cliftonville are to play the beaten finalists in the Irish Cup Ballymena United in a Charity Shield game on 2 August.

Ballymena are taking the place of Irish Cup winners Glenavon who said they could not play because they had already agreed to a pre-season friendly.

Money raised by the game, to be played at Cliftonville's Solitude ground, will go to the Northern Ireland Hospice.

The last Irish League Charity Shield game was 14 years ago.

On that occasion Linfield beat Glentoran 2-0 and one of the scorers was Glenn Ferguson, who is the current manager of Ballymena.

"The result does not really matter in these games, as long as the charity is the winner. We want to raise as much for the worthy cause as possible," said Ferguson.

"We are pleased to be taking part. Playing the champions a week before the league season starts will give us a good idea of where we are.

"We have shown we can compete against the big teams on the day and I am getting that into the players' heads."

Funds raised through the match will go towards supporting the building of a state-of-the-art adult hospice facility at Somerton Road in north Belfast which is set to open in late 2015.