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Live Reporting

Matt Gault and Michael Morrow

All times stated are UK

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  1. Signing off

    Until next week

    Another week, another immensely exciting day in the Irish Premiership title race. For the first time in recent memory, Crusaders are not sitting pretty at the top of the tree. Linfield have been waiting a long time for their rivals to slip up, and slip up they did at the Ballymena Showgrounds. 

    It leaves us eagerly anticipating next week's Premiership climax. It's simple for Linfield: beat Cliftonville at Solitude and they will be champions. There's been countless twists and tuns in recent weeks, though, so it would be unwise to predict such a straightforward Saturday afternoon unfolding at Solitude.

    We'll be there to cover it every step of the way but, until then, make sure to check back on the BBC Sport NI website for all of today's goals and highlights. There will be comprehensive analysis on The Irish League Show, too, which will be available on the BBC iPlayer on Monday night. 

  2. What they said

    Cliftonville 1-3 Glenavon

    Cliftonville interim boss Mal Donaghy reflects on today's performance and Gerard Lyttle's exit on Radio Ulster's Sportsound. 

    Mal Donaghy with George McMullan
    Image caption: Mal Donaghy with George McMullan
    Quote Message: Gerard phoned me yesterday afternoon and explained the situation and it obviously escalated very quickly from there. It's been a hectic 48 hours and that didn't give us a lot of time to prepare for today. Gerard took training on Thursday but I can hold my hands up and take full responsibility for today's performance because I made a few tweaks which didn't come off. Overall, we're disappointed with the performance. from Mal Donaghy Cliftonville interim manager
    Mal DonaghyCliftonville interim manager
  3. What they said

    Ballymena United 3-0 Crusaders

    Quote Message: We're delighted. I thought we were very good all over the park today. Our forwards will get the plaudits and they were awesome, working tirelessly from start to finish, but I also thought Ross Glendinning was exceptional and the final scoreline owes much to his brilliance. We've worked tremendously hard to hard to get into the top six and I'm pleased that we haven't let our season fizzle out. I'll admit that the surface is a disgrace. I said that to Stephen [Baxter] before the game and I know that. The state of the pitch was the reason we didn't go into the break one or two up and hopefully, starting in the summer, efforts will be made to produce a playing surface worthy of Ballymena United. from David Jeffrey Ballymena United manager
    David JeffreyBallymena United manager
    Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey
    Image caption: Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey
  4. What they said

    Coleraine 1-5 Linfield

    Quote Message: The players were brilliant today. I've been critical at times this season, even when we have won, but they were absolutely outstanding. We showed desire, commitment, character and certainly deserved the win. People have written us off this season, saying we don't have the right attitude, but we've proven otherwise. Crusaders are a top team and we're not counting our chickens yet because it's a big game next week and I'm relishing it. We won't be playing for a draw, we're going there to win, make no mistake about it but I'm expecting a difficult game because with Gerard Lyttle leaving, they'll be expecting a reaction against us. from David Healy Linfield manager
    David HealyLinfield manager
    Linfield boss David Healy
    Image caption: Linfield boss David Healy
  5. Irish Premiership - As it stands

    Irish Premiership table top six going into the final matches
    Image caption: Irish Premiership table top six going into the final matches
  6. What they said

    Coleraine 1-5 Linfield

    Quote Message: When we went a goal down we needed character and we found it in abundance. Going down and coming back to score five was a perfect response from us in the second-half. The stats prove that Cliftonville is a very tough place for us to go and I don't think their recent form or what's happening at their club will have any bearing on next week. We know how good they are, they've beaten us twice this season so we're expecting a difficult game. from Jamie Mulgrew Linfield captain
    Jamie MulgrewLinfield captain
  7. What they said

    Ballymena United 3-0 Crusaders

    Quote Message: Nobody has spoken in the dressing room yet. We came here with the expectation of taking three points away and we gave it everything we had but Ballymena were up for the fight. I knew this was going to be tough and, unfortunately, the pitch wasn't in satisfactory condition and below Irish League football standards. It's the worst pitch I've seen for a long time but that's no excuse for us. At the end of the day, they've taken their chances and we've shot ourselves in the foot in many ways. Linfield have been relying on teams to do them favours for much of this season now we're relying on someone to do us a favour. from Stephen Baxter Crusaders manager
    Stephen BaxterCrusaders manager
    Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter
    Image caption: Crusaders boss Stephen Baxter
  8. Praise for 'merciless' Blues

    Coleraine 1-5 Linfield

    Liam Beckett is particularly effusive in his assessment of Linfield's scintillating second-half performance. 

    Quote Message: You can see the relief among the Linfield players because it was so tense at the start of the afternoon. But they deserved the win. I thought Callacher was magnificent in the centre of defence and they held all of the aces in midfield, with Mulgrew and Lowry running the show. Waterworth covered every blade of grass and Smyth was brilliant - he was the one who wreaked havoc on the Coleraine defence. from Liam Beckett Radio Ulster summariser
    Liam BeckettRadio Ulster summariser

    Glentoran 3-0 Portadown

    Two goals from Curtis Allen and an Eric Foley free-kick give Glentoran a comfortable win against the already relegated Portadown. 


    Dungannon Swifts 4-0 Carrick Rangers

    Dungannon take another big step towards securing seventh place and that Europa League play-off. First half goals from Andrew Mitchell, Fra Brennan and a brace from Ryan Harpur doing the damage.

    Carrick may be forgiven for already having one eye on their own play-off, but they were very soundly beaten today.


    Ballymena United 3-0 Crusaders

    It's all over at the Showgrounds where champions Crusaders have been beaten by Ballymena United for the secnod time this season. Conor McCloskey and Cathair Friel (2) scored the goals in a 3-0 victory for the Sky Blues. Now it is out of Crusaders' hands as they go onto their final game at home to Glenavon next Saturday. Linfield can win their first title since 2012 with victory away to Cliftonville. The Blues have a much better goal difference too so a draw would almost certainly be enough.

  12. Linfield top the table

    Linfield manager David Healy
    Image caption: Linfield manager David Healy
  13. GOAL

    Ballymena United 3-0 Crusaders

    Cathair Friel wraps it up with a third goal for Ballymena in stoppage-time. That's 22 goals for the season now for Friel.


    Cliftonville 1-3 Glenavon

    It's a miserable end to a turbulent week for Cliftonville as Glenavon walk away with all three points. Just to rub salt into the wounds, Ballymena will knock them off fourth place by beating Crusaders. 


    Coleraine 1-5 Linfield

    It's all over! A brilliant, emphatic attacking performance from Linfield sees them brush Coleraine aside and they are top of the table!

  16. Title race turnaround

    Three of the goals that have turned the title race on it's head. 

     Linfield goals by Paul Smyth, Aaron Burns (penalty) & Andrew Waterworth  

    Video content

    Video caption: Three goals that have turned the Title Race on it's head
  17. GOAL

    Ballymena United 2-0 Crusaders

    Cathair Friel makes it two and Crusaders' title hopes are fading fast. Keeper Sean O'Neill's mistake left Friel with an open goal just outside the box and he gratefully took it.

  18. RED CARD

    Dungannon Swifts 4-0 Carrick Rangers

    Five minutes from time and TJ Murray is given his marching orders to add insult to Carrick's injury.

  19. GOAL

    Cliftonville 1-3 Glenavon

    McGrory makes it three for Glenavon as they wrap up the points at Solitude, firing in an unstoppable drive which flies past the despairing glove of Burke. 

  20. Blues blitz

    Coleraine 1-5 Linfield

    Here are three of Linfield's goals. Coleraine fans, look away!

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