Northern Ireland Football League chief Andrew Johnston has predicted a titanic battle for the Gibson Cup this season.
The new Danske Bank Premiership campaign was officially launched at Windsor Park on Wednesday night.
NIFL Managing Director Johnston is excited at what promises to be one of the most tightly contested Premiership season’s in recent years.
“Last season saw Crusaders retain their title but all of their rivals have invested in their squads this summer with several high profile signings joining the Danske Bank Premiership in recent weeks,” he said.
“However, this should not detract from the tremendous amount of young talented players in the league and show that we continue to play a very important role in young players development.
“There were six Northern Ireland internationals at the Euros who either started their careers in the Irish League or currently play in it, and this is evidence of the fantastic work that the Danske Bank Premiership clubs do in the development of their players as they look to play at the highest level.
“I have no doubt that there are young players in the Premiership who have the talent to eventually play on the International stage, and as a league we are proud that we are able to provide them the platform to develop as players as they strive to become the next Garth McAuley or Stuart Dallas.”
Danske Bank CEO Kevin Kingston added: “We are extremely proud to be extending our partnership with the Northern Ireland Football League for a fifth consecutive year.
“Following the excitement of the Euros earlier this year, football fever has taken over Northern Ireland and we hope this enthusiasm continues into the Danske Bank Premiership season.”