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The wait is over!

Seven weeks since lifting the Irish Cup, just three days remain until Cliftonville are back in action.

The Reds’ preparations for the UEFA Conference League step up a gear courtesy of clashes with teams from the Cymru Premier, both of whom are likewise making plans for European excursions.

On Thursday, The New Saints – who will face Montenegrin outfit Decic in the first qualifying round of the Champions League next month – visit Solitude for what will be the ninth meeting between the Clubs in the last 13 years.

In the summer of 2011, Cliftonville earned a 2-1 friendly victory in Oswestry less than 48 hours before being paired with the Shropshire outfit in the Europa League.

The Saints emerged victorious in that tie by a 2-1 aggregate scoreline and also hold overall success in the sides’ five friendly tussles since then; three 1-0 wins at Solitude prior to a goalless encounter at Park Hall in 2015 and 2-1 success at the same venue two years ago.

On Saturday, meanwhile, Jim Magilton’s Irish Cup winners will host Caernarfon Town, who will soon be back in north Belfast having been paired with our derby rivals Crusaders in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League.

Cofis finished fifth in last season’s Cymru Premier, securing their continental debut when they overcame Penybont in the Welsh European Play-Offs, and this week’s encounter represents their first ever meeting with the Reds.

Tickets for both games, with admission set at £9 for Adults and £4 for Concessions, are now available online.

Thursday, June 27 (7pm)
Cliftonville v The New Saints
Adults: £9
Concessions: £4
Tickets: Here

Saturday, June 29 (3pm)
Cliftonville v Caernarfon Town
Adults: £9
Concessions: £4
Tickets: Here