Another attempt to play cup semi as top teams face crunch Premiership matches

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Ballymena United and Cliftonville will make a fourth attempt to play their BetMcLean League Cup semi-final at the Showgrounds on Saturday.

Both clubs' scheduled Danske Bank Premiership matches have been postponed to facilitate staging the last four tie.

The final with Dungannon Swifts is due to be played next weekend. 

In Saturday's surviving Premiership matches, leaders Crusaders host Glentoran; second plays third at Ballycastle Road with Coleraine up against Glenavon; Linfield welcome Dungannon and Carrick face Ards in Bangor.

Northern Ireland Football League statement - 

"The NI Football League have confirmed a revised date for the BetMcLean League Cup semi-final.

"Following positive discussions with participant clubs, all parties have agreed that the outstanding semi-final Ballymena United v Ciftonville be played on Saturday 10 February (kick-off: 3pm) at the Ballymena Showgrounds.

"The BetMcLean League Cup final will continue as scheduled on Saturday 17 February (kick-off: 5.30pm) with the winner of the semi-final taking on Dungannon Swifts.

"As a result of this fixture announcement, the following two Danske Bank Premiership fixtures this Saturday will be postponed.

- Ballymena United v Ballinamallard United (revised date: tbc)
- Warrenpoint Town v Cliftonville (revised date: Tuesday 13 February, kick-off: 7.45pm)

"As a further consequence the following fixtures will now be played on Saturday, 17 February 2018 (originally scheduled for Friday, 16 February 2018).

- Carrick Rangers v Warrenpoint Town
- Cliftonville v Linfield (subject to the outcome of the League Cup semi-final)

"The NI Football League also wishes to clarify the events which led to the postponement of the semi-final on Tuesday evening. NI Football League officials kept regular contact with both clubs and received positive feedback on Monday from the host club and landlord that the pitch at Ballymena Showgrounds was playable and further steps would be taken to ensure the game could proceed.

"Following a pitch inspection on Tuesday at 2.30pm by a senior referee, and following consultation with the match referee, the pitch was declared playable. Upon arrival at the ground at 5.45pm the match referee and his team took the decision to postpone the game in the interest of player safety.

"The NI Football League wish to highlight that competition rules do not provide the authority to the League Cup Committee to switch the game to another venue without the agreement of both clubs.

"The NI Football League regret the inconvenience caused by Tuesday’s late postponement for club officials, players and supporters."

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