Home News Fixtures Tables Squad Commercial Info History Shop Under 20s
To Be Confirmed

The History of the Boxing Day Derby!
Uploaded Sunday, 25th Dec, 2016 at 11:43

MONDAY sees the 35th meeting of the traditional Boxing Day fixture between Ballymena United and Coleraine.
The first Boxing Day fixture between the two rivals took place in December 1937 went in favour of Ballymena United. The Sky Blues won a thrilling nine goal encounter at the Coleraine Showgrounds, winning 6-3 with a four goal haul for legendary Scottish striker Bob Sclater.
The tradition of Irish League rivals intentionally being scheduled in a festive showpiece surprisingly only dates back the early 1980's, but since then it has become the highlights of the Irish League footballing calendar. Historically Ballymena United and their Irish League peers would have also played games on Christmas Day and Linfield were often more regular opponents on the 26th December than Coleraine!
Of the 34 games, the Bannsiders have edged the yuletide bragging rights, with 14 wins to Ballymena United's 11 - which often reflects the close nature of the fixture, which has also produced nine draws.
The game wasn't as close in 1968, when Ballymena recorded their biggest victory in the fixture, winning 5-0 with goals from Mick McGowan 2, Barry Brown 2 and Eddie Russell. That result came a year after the heaviest defeat, when the Sky Blues lost 2-7 in 1967.
John Heron wheels away in celebration after scoring in a 1-1 Boxing Day Derby against Coleraine in 1994
Click Above Image To View Full Size
This will be manager David Jeffrey's first Boxing Day derby between Ballymena United and Coleraine having previously been more familiar with the Belfast Big Two clash. However, this will be Coleraine manager Oran Kearney's fifth encounter in the dugout (won 3, lost 2) and he also played twice as a Ballymena player (drew 1, lost 1).
Last season, two goals from Jamie McGonigle sealed a 2-1 Coleraine win on the Ballycastle Road, but with a return to the Ballymena Showgrounds this year - can the Braidmen take home advantage? It promises to be a Christmas cracker!