Match Preview

Final Eight

COLERAINE go in the search of a semi-final place in the Irish Cup as they are the visitors to Cliftonville this evening (KO 7:45pm)…

Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup Quarter-Final


The Bannsiders come into the contest after a draw against Larne on Tuesday night as Matthew Shevlin’s last gasp equaliser earned a share of the spoils at The Showgrounds. That result means Coleraine remain in sixth spot in the Premiership standings with four games to go until the league split. Oran Kearney’s men have navigated their way past Windmill Stars and Portadown to get to this stage of the competition.

Cliftonville continue to fly on three fronts this campaign as they are second in the Danske Bank Premiership table – with their latest success coming in a 3-1 win against Crusaders last weekend. Paddy McLaughlin was named as the NIFWA Manager of the Month for February with the Reds beating Islandmagee and Carrick Rangers so far in the Irish Cup.

Previous meetings:

This will be the fourth meeting between the clubs – with Cliftonville winning the first back in August. After a goalless first-half, Coleraine almost carved out the opener as Eoin Bradley and Matthew Shevlin went close. However, the deadlock would be broken at the other end as Joe Gormley latched onto Jamie McDonagh’s superb delivery, before the win was secured two minutes later as Stephen O’Donnell scored an unfortunate own goal. The Stripes did manage to pull a goal back through Aaron Traynor but left North Belfast empty handed.

In November, the Reds would be the visitors to The Showgrounds in front of a bumper crowd on the North Coast. Once again, the first-half would end goalless despite both teams getting into dangerous positions. The game would spur into life with half an hour remaining as Eoin Bradley was introduced from the bench and he almost made a dramatic impact within sixty seconds when Josh Carson played him in and the striker’s dink over McNicholas bounced off the crossbar. At the other end, Cliftonville then had a great chance to break the deadlock. Gareth Deane signed a new contract on Friday and proved his worth on 78 minutes with a superb point blank save to keep out Johnny Addis after he had first hit the post. That proved to be the last meaningful action as a hard fought encounter ended scoreless.

Last month, Cliftonville would host Coleraine for the third time in league duty with the first-half being a cagey affair and no goals being scored. However, fans wouldn’t have to wait long for the opening goal to arrive after the break as Ryan Curran swept home on 48 minutes, before the same player doubled his tally just five minutes later as he was in the right place at the right time to fire into the net from Ronan Doherty’s cut back. The Stripes tried to get their way back into the contest with Stephen Lowry’s header crashing off the post.

The two clubs will also face each other in the final of the BetMcLean League Cup on Sunday, March 13.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“It’s a game that needs no build-up,” Kearney said.

“It has to be said it’s crazy how we landed the Larne in the middle of it and I’ve no problem saying it.

“The Irish Cup as a competition over the years always had three weeks in the season when things were built around it to try and build the credit that the competition deserves.

“How we were landed with a fixture like that and our opposition don’t do a fixture like this makes it quite an unfair start to an entrance of such a big game.

“However, we’ve played plenty of games where we’ve had three games in six days or whatever else and this is just another phase of it.

“We’ve got to now recharge the batteries and make sure we’re ready for Friday.

“A vocal support is really important to get behind the lads and urge them on.

“Hopefully we’ll fill that away stand and we’ll have a good following support on Friday night.”


The match referee will be Lee Tavinder.

The assistant referees are John Doherty and George Argyropoulos.

Jamie Robinson has been selected as the fourth official.


Coleraine supporters will require tickets for the fixture which can be purchased HERE.

The fixture will be streamed live on the BBC Sport NI website and available via the Red Button.

If you are not feeling yourself this evening and you have symptoms which you feel are similar to COVID-19, please stay away from the stadium and think of others.

If you have access to a lateral flow/PCR test at home, we would encourage you to check yourself before coming to the game.

If you have been in contact with a positive case and haven’t yet been contacted by track and trace, please do not come to the game.

As ever, those unable to watch the fixture can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).