BBC Sport NI to show Irish Premiership and Irish Cup matches live on TV

Launch of BBC NI live coverage of NIFL games
Andrew Johnston (NIFL), Patrick Nelson (IFA), Jane Tohill (BBC) and Stephen Watson (BBC) at the announcement of the live Irish League coverage

Ten Irish Premiership matches are to be broadcast live on BBC NI television on Friday nights this season.

Three Irish Cup games, including the final, will also be shown as part of a three-year deal announced on Thursday.

The first game will be the north Belfast derby at Seaview on 5 October between league champions Crusaders and north Belfast rivals Cliftonville.

That will be followed by Glenavon's visit to Ballymena on 2 November and Coleraine v Newry City on 30 November.

Details of the other games to be broadcast live will be announced when they are agreed.

The BBC's agreement with the Irish Football Association and Northern Ireland Football League was announced at Windsor Park.

Coverage of the north Belfast derby on 5 October begins on BBC Two Northern Ireland at 19:30 BST, presented by Stephen Watson with commentary from Thomas Kane.

The Irish Cup final is one of the highlights of BBC Northern Ireland's sporting calendar
The Irish Cup final is one of the highlights of BBC Northern Ireland's sporting calendar

"This agreement with the IFA and NIFL is brilliant news for local football fans and for our audiences," said Jane Tohill, Editor of BBC Sport NI.

"With 10 live league games across the season and three Irish Cup matches, including the final, we are delivering a comprehensive live package of local football. We look forward to featuring as many clubs as possible throughout the season."

Peter Johnston, Director, BBC Northern Ireland, said the BBC remained committed to finding ways to bring audiences the best possible action across a range of sports.

Irish FA chief executive, Patrick Nelson, said he was delighted that the BBC was reflecting local football's popularity by showing live coverage of the Irish Cup and the Premiership.

Andrew Johnston, Managing Director of NIFL, added: "This announcement is testament to the commitment BBC Sport NI has shown the Irish League.

"We look forward to working with them to allow even more people to enjoy the unique passion and quality of our league."

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