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NIFL Premiership
2018–19
NIFL Premiership
Season information
Dates 4 August 2018 – 27 April 2019
Winners Linfield
53rd Irish title
Relegated Newry City
Ards (via play-off)
Continental cup qualifiers
Champions League Linfield
Europa League Ballymena United
Season statistics
Matches played 228
Goals scored 696
Top goalscorer Joe Gormley (20 goals)
Biggest home win Ballymena United 6–1 Institute
(19 March 2019)
Biggest away win Warrenpoint Town 1–6 Ballymena
(1 September 2018)
Warrenpoint Town 0–5 Linfield
(7 September 2018)
Warrenpoint Town 0–5 Glentoran
(9 February 2019)
Dungannon Swifts 0–5 Linfield
(22 March 2019)
Highest scoring Institute 6–4 Cliftonville
(22 December 2018)
Previous season
Next season
 ← 2017–18
2019–20 → 

The 2018–19 NIFL Premiership (known as the Danske Bank Premiership for sponsorship reasons) was the 11th season of Northern Ireland's highest national football league in this format since its inception in 2008, the 118th season of Irish league football overall, and the sixth season of the league operating as part of the Northern Ireland Football League. The season began on 4 August 2018 and concluded on 27 April 2019, with the play-offs for promotion/relegation and the Europa League then taking place in May 2019.

Crusaders were the defending champions from the previous season. Linfield were the champions, lifting the league title for the second time in three seasons, and a record 53rd time overall. The title win was confirmed on 13 April 2019, following a 0–0 draw at home against the outgoing champions, Crusaders, which left them 12 points clear with three games remaining.

Linfield entered the 2019–20 UEFA Champions League, while runners-up Ballymena United qualified for the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League, along with the play-off winners and 2018–19 Irish Cup winners.

Teams

Twelve teams competed in the 2018–19 NIFL Premiership, ten of which retained their Premiership status from the previous season. Ballinamallard United were relegated to the 2018–19 NIFL Championship after finishing bottom of the 2017–18 NIFL Premiership, and were replaced by Institute as winners of the 2017–18 NIFL Championship.

Carrick Rangers finished in the promotion-relegation play-off place, and lost their Premiership place after losing the play-off 6–3 on aggregate against Championship runners-up Newry City.

Stadia and locations

Club Stadium Location Capacity
Ards Clandeboye Park Bangor 1,895 (500 seated)
Ballymena United The Showgrounds Ballymena 3,050 (2,280 seated)
Cliftonville Solitude Belfast 2,530 (all seated)
Coleraine The Showgrounds Coleraine 2,496 (1,106 seated)
Crusaders Seaview Belfast 3,383 (all seated)
Dungannon Swifts Stangmore Park Dungannon 5,000 (300 seated)
Glenavon Mourneview Park Lurgan 4,160 (4,000 seated)
Glentoran The Oval Belfast 6,054 (4,989 seated)
Institute Brandywell Stadium Derry 7,700 (2,900 seated)
Linfield Windsor Park Belfast 18,167 (all seated)
Newry City The Showgrounds Newry 2,275 (1,080 seated)
Warrenpoint Town Milltown Warrenpoint 1,280 (150 seated)

League table

Pos
Team Pld
W
D
L
GF
GA
GD
Pts
Qualification or relegation
1 Linfield  (C) 38 26 7 5 77 27+50 85 Qualification for the Champions League first qualifying round
2 Ballymena United 38 24 6 8 83 47+36 78 Qualification for the Europa League preliminary round
3 Glenavon 38 20 10 8 74 46+28 70 Qualification for the Europa League play-offs
4 Crusaders 38 20 5 13 68 55+13 65 Qualification for the Europa League first qualifying round
5 Cliftonville  (O) 38 19 4 15 70 66+4 61 Qualification for the Europa League play-offs
6 Coleraine 38 15 11 12 59 55+4 56
7 Glentoran 38 13 10 15 58 53+5 49
8 Institute 38 13 5 20 50 72−22 44
9 Dungannon Swifts 38 11 9 18 44 65−21 42
10 Warrenpoint Town 38 10 9 19 51 79−28 39
11 Ards  (R) 38 6 9 23 31 63−32 27 Qualification for the relegation play-offs
12 Newry City  (R) 38 6 5 27 31 68−37 23 Relegation to the NIFL Championship
Source: NIFL Premiership, Soccerway
Rules for classification: 1st points; 2nd goal difference; 3rd number of goals scored.
(C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished:
(Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated.


Play-offs

UEFA Europa League play-offs

Four of the teams (Crusaders qualified for the Europa League directly as 2018–19 Irish Cup winners) that finished in the play-off places (3rd–7th position) participated in the Europa League play-offs to decide which team would qualify for the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League preliminary round. After victories over Coleraine and Glenavon in the semi-finals respectively, Cliftonville and Glentoran once again contested the final, with Cliftonville securing the last remaining place in next season's Europa League after a 2–0 win. This was a repeat of the 2016 and 2018 play-off finals, with Cliftonville winning 3–2 on both previous occasions.

Semi-finals

7 May 2019 (2019-05-07)
19:45 BST
Semi-final
Glenavon (3rd) 2 – 4 Glentoran (7th) Mourneview Park, Lurgan
Referee: Lee Tavinder
Marron Soccerball 45'
Mitchell Soccerball 54'
BBC Sport
NIFL
Murray Soccerball 27'76'
Allen Soccerball 48'
McDaid Soccerball 55'

7 May 2019 (2019-05-07)
19:45 BST
Semi-final
Cliftonville (5th) 5 – 3
(a.e.t.)
Coleraine (6th) Solitude, Belfast
Referee: Steven Gregg
Gormley Soccerball 34'
McMenamin Soccerball 76'113'
Curran Soccerball 90+7' (pen.)
Ives Soccerball 92'
BBC Sport
NIFL
McLaughlin Soccerball 9'28'72'

Final

11 May 2019 (2019-05-11)
17:30 BST
Final
Cliftonville (5th) 2 – 0
(a.e.t.)
Glentoran (7th) Solitude, Belfast
Referee: Andrew Davey
Gormley Soccerball 105+1'
McMenamin Soccerball 119'
BBC Sport
NIFL

Cliftonville won the Europa League play-offs, and qualified for the 2019–20 UEFA Europa League preliminary round.

NIFL Premiership play-offs

Pre-play-off

The 2018–19 NIFL Championship runners-up, Carrick Rangers, took part in a Championship promotion pre-play-off match against the 3rd-placed team, Portadown, with Carrick Rangers given home advantage as the higher-ranked of the two clubs. Carrick Rangers won the match 2–0 and advanced to the two-legged play-off against the 11th-placed NIFL Premiership team, Ards, for the last remaining place in the 2019–20 NIFL Premiership. The pre-play-off match was played on 30 April 2019.

30 April 2019 (2019-04-30)
19:45 BST
Carrick Rangers (Ch. 2nd) 2 – 0 Portadown (Ch. 3rd) Taylors Avenue, Carrickfergus
Referee: Declan Hassan
McCallum Soccerball 74' (o.g.)
Nixon Soccerball 90+2'
BBC Sport
NIFL

Play-off

The 11th-placed Premiership team, Ards, played a two-legged tie against the pre play-off winners, Carrick Rangers, with Ards given the advantage of playing the second leg at home as the Premiership club. Carrick Rangers won the tie 3–1 on aggregate to secure promotion to the 2019–20 NIFL Premiership, with Ards being relegated to the Championship. The matches took place on 3 May and 6 May 2019.

3 May 2019 (2019-05-03)
19:45 BST
First leg
Carrick Rangers (Ch. 2nd) 1 – 0 Ards (Pr. 11th) Hotel Loughshore Arena, Carrickfergus
Referee: Tony Clarke
Smith Soccerball 11' BBC Sport
NIFL

6 May 2019 (2019-05-06)
19:45 BST
Second leg
Ards (Pr. 11th) 1 – 2 Carrick Rangers (Ch. 2nd) Bangor Fuels Arena, Bangor
Referee: Evan Boyce
Taylor Soccerball 37' BBC Sport
NIFL
Surgenor Soccerball 4'
Strain Soccerball 29'

Carrick Rangers won 3–1 on aggregate, and were promoted to the 2019–20 NIFL Premiership. Ards were relegated to the 2019–20 NIFL Championship.

Top goalscorers

Rank Scorer Club Goals
1 Flag of Northern Ireland Joe Gormley Cliftonville 20
2 Flag of Northern Ireland Michael McCrudden Institute 19
3 Flag of Northern Ireland Andrew Waterworth Linfield 17
4 Flag of Northern Ireland Cathair Friel Ballymena United 16
5 Flag of Northern Ireland Stephen Murray Glenavon 15
6 Flag of Northern Ireland Paul Heatley Crusaders 14
7 Flag of Northern Ireland Ryan Curran Cliftonville 13
Flag of Northern Ireland Robbie McDaid Glentoran 13
9 Flag of Northern Ireland Rory Donnelly Cliftonville 12
Flag of Northern Ireland Paul McElroy Dungannon Swifts 12
Flag of Northern Ireland Andrew Mitchell Glenavon 12

External links

IFA Premiership 2018-19

Ards · Ballymena United · Cliftonville · Coleraine · Crusaders · Dungannon Swifts · Glenavon · Glentoran · Institute · Linfield · Newry City · Warrenpoint Town

IFA Premiership seasons

2014–15 · 2015–16 · 2016–17 · 2017–18 · 2018–19 · 2019–20 ·

2018–19 in Northern Irish football
Domestic leagues

NIFL Premiership · NIFL Championship

Domestic cups

Irish Cup · Northern Ireland Football League Cup · Northern Ireland Super Cup

European competitions

Champions League (Final) · Europa League (Final)

National teams

National team

2017-18                                                        2019-20

201819 in European football (UEFA)
Domestic leagues

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Domestic cups

Albania · Andorra · Armenia · Austria · Azerbaijan · Belarus · Belgium · Bosnia and Herzegovina · Bulgaria · Croatia · Cyprus · Czech Republic · Denmark · England · Estonia · Faroe Islands '18 '19 · Finland · France · Georgia '18 '19 · Germany · Gibraltar · Greece · Hungary · Iceland '18 '19 · Israel · Italy · Kazakhstan '18 '19 · Kosovo · Latvia '18 '19 · Liechtenstein · Lithuania '18 '19 · Luxembourg · Macedonia · Malta · Moldova · Montenegro · Netherlands · Northern Ireland · Norway '18 '19 · Poland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '18 '19 · Romania · Russia · San Marino · Scotland · Serbia · Slovakia · Slovenia · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland · Turkey · Ukraine · Wales

League cups

England · Estonia · France · Iceland '18 '19 · Israel · Latvia · Northern Ireland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '18 '19 · Scotland · Wales

Supercups

Albania · Andorra · Armenia · Azerbaijan · Belarus · Belgium · Bulgaria · Cyprus · England · Estonia · Faroe Islands · France · Georgia · Germany · Gibraltar · Hungary · Iceland · Israel · Italy · Kazakhstan · Lithuania '18 '19 · Malta · Moldova · Netherlands · Northern Ireland · Norway '18 '19 · Poland · Portugal · Republic of Ireland '18 '19 · Romania · Russia · San Marino · Slovakia · Spain · Turkey · Ukraine

UEFA competitions
Champions League (qualifying phase and play-off round · group stage · knockout phase · Final)
Europa League (qualifying phase and play-off round (Main Path), qualifying phase and play-off round (Champions Path) · group stage · knockout phase · Final)
Super Cup
International competitions
UEFA Euro 2020 (qualification) ·

2018–19 UEFA Nations League (League A · League B · League C · League D · Finals)

Northern Ireland
Flag of Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Northern Irish competitions · Northern Irish coaches · Northern Irish players · Northern Irish stadiums

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