COLERAINE under-16’s manager Marty Smith insists his squad aren’t there ‘to simply make up the numbers’ as they face Manchester United in a challenge match hosted by STATSports SuperCupNI this evening (KO 7pm)…
The annual tournament has had to be cancelled for a second successive year but the organising committee have arranged for the Red Devils to face Coleraine this evening in Portstewart, as well as against Ballymena United at The Showgrounds this Wednesday and against Linfield at Dixon Park on Friday.
Speaking ahead of the fixture, boss Smith reflected that it will be ‘a great occasion’ for his side to compete against one of the best clubs in the world.
“The players and coaching staff are really looking forward to the game,” he said.
“It’s a special fixture against one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“It will be a great occasion for the players and their families but we can’t afford to get caught up in the glamour of it.
“We aren’t just there to make up the numbers we want to compete and give Man United a game.
“Ideally we would love the game to be played at the Coleraine Showgrounds but Portstewart is also a great facility and all the boys are relishing the challenge.”
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney has dipped into the Youths set-up to bring the likes of Lyndon Kane, Adam Mullan and Jamie McGonigle into the first-team picture in recent years.
As such, Smith knows tonight’s fixture can help springboard further graduates into Kearney’s panel.
“It’s not your run of the mill pre season game and we have been back training since early July,” he said.
“The boys are working really hard to not only be ready for the United game but for the season ahead which kicks off on August 13th v Carrick Rangers.
“It will be a big season for many of the boys as they hope to push on into our under 20s and first team set up.
“A few players have been involved on the first team set up recently.
“We have a number of 15, 16 and 17 year olds that have experience of the under 20s and first team in recent weeks.
“It’s great that Oran and Ollie Mullan (under 20’s manager) are willing to give these young lads the opportunity and its shows the players that if they work hard and make the sacrifice that the chance is there.”
1. Conor Henry
2. Michael Stewart
3. Taylor McBride
4. Joshua Callaghan
5. Shea Gallagher
6. Paul Keogh
7. Lewis Tosh
8. Jay Riley
9. James McCafferty
10. Jack Patton
11. Jack Elliot
12. Aaron Campbell
14. Rory Moffat
15. Christopher Cullen
16. George Campbell
17. Daniel Greer
18. Senan Devine
19. Cathair Donnelly