Whatever family delights Christmas Day can provide, for me the essence of the season is Boxing Day Irish League football. It offers much the year's largest crowds and frequently it is a rare occasion for Northern Irish fans to feel that they are attending a 'proper' big match. I have spectated at a number of seasonal Big Two clashes, including the famous occasion when the sides took to the pitch with an invisible white ball on a snow white surface, but for me Boxing Day normally features Ballymena United versus Coleraine and all the local rivalry which that fixture entails.
Tomorrow Ballymena host the Gasmen at the Showgrounds hoping to extend a four game winning streak. Points have been at a premium for Roy Walker's men this season, but wins against Glentoran and Linfield suggest a big derby win in eminently possible. So hear's hoping that Kevin Kelbie bangs in a couple and sends Coleraine home with a sound beating. I'm convinced that the Sky Blues are not as woeful as their lowly position suggests. With Ballyclare drawn in the Cup perhaps this season will be the year dor a final appearance.