Swift start to season for Gers

Banbridge Rangers FC begin their Intermediate A campaign this Saturday with an away tie against Markethill Swifts.

The Mid Ulster Football League have indicated that there is likely to be a restructuring of the Intermediate Leagues at the end of this season after increasing the top two tiers to 14 teams.

The plan to divide the structure into three Divisions is dependant on several new applicants but it does mean that the bottom six teams will be threatened with relegation. Preparations for this years campaign have gone to plan and Rangers will be looking to perform better than last season where they lost eight out of nine games in the opening three months.

They did turn things around to finish in the top five and with several new recruits there is more than enough reason to be optimistic. Banbridge Rangers manager Andy Frazer has added goalkeeper Davy Crawford, defender Jeff McClure, midfielders Ryan McIlroy, Craig McVicker and Jonny Gilchrist to his squad along with strengthening his front line with the additions of Glenn Moffett and Chris Crawford.

Pre-season training began back in mid June and started with a competitive but goalless draw against Championship 2 side Killymoon Rangers. Premiership newcomers Ards were next up and ran out comfortable winners despite two late goals from Ryan Weir and Stuart Cairns who re-signed from Donacloney.

The squad then defeated the Premier Co Down Milk Cup team at Cheney Park before entering the Ironside Cup for Cancer Research UK at the semi-final stage. A 2-2 draw with Scarva Rangers was made possible with a late equaliser from Ryan Gregg and Banbridge Rangers progressed to the final after a 6-5 penalty shootout win.

The final against Rathfriland saw the Gers finally lift the shackles of long ball football and they produced a dominant display to win 4-0 and lift the Cup for the fourth year in succession. The following day a fringe side travelled to Ballyvea and went down 3-1 with the final warm up game taking place this evening, Tuesday August 6, at Cheney Park vs Craigavon City with kick off at 2.15pm.

Banbridge Rangers opening four fixtures will all be away from home with a league game away to current champions Dollingstown on Tuesday August 13 (6.30pm kick-off) following Saturday’s opener against Markethill Swifts.

On Saturday August 17 Banbridge Rangers will play Seagoe away in the preliminary round of the Bob Radcliffe Cup with the winners guaranteed a home tie against Tandragee Rovers later in the month.

On Tuesday August 20 Rangers will travel the short distance to Havelock Park for a n early derby encounter with Seapatrick with kick off at 6.30pm. For a list of the seasons fixtures and updates you can like the club’s Facebook Page or follow us on twitter @BanRangersFC.