Match Reaction

Friel off the mark

CATHAIR Friel hopes that his hat-trick during last night’s League Cup tie against Bangor will help force his way into Oran Kearney’s starting eleven…

The striker broke the deadlock on 16 minutes with a cheeky nutmeg and finish before netting his second from the spot after Ronan Wilson was brought down inside the area.

The Limavady man would ensure he’d go home with the match ball on 74 minutes as he was in the right position to prod the ball home as Coleraine began their defence of the BetMcLean League Cup trophy with a 5-0 win at the Bangor Fuels Arena.

Friel remarked that he also netted his last hat-trick at the same venue and thanked Lyndon Kane for letting him hit the spot kick.

“I was talking to Paul Owens coming here and I just said that I needed to get a goal,” he confessed.

“I fully believe that getting my first strike will kick start me, and incredibly, my last hat trick was here against Ards for Ballymena United.

“I think it was meant to happen, I’m buzzing to get off the mark, and despite the last one being a bit lucky, they all count.

“For the first goal, I could sense the defender getting tight to me so all I could do was nutmeg him and I fancied myself when one-on-one.

“To be fair to Lyndon, he was happy to give me the ball for the penalty and I was relieved to see the ball hit the back of the net.

“It was good to get those types of goals and they are ones you’d expect from a striker.”

The 28-year-old admits an injury setback in pre-season came at the worst possible time as he reflected on his stop-start introduction to his second spell at The Showgrounds.

“I was training well, doing everything that I could and felt fit,” he continued.

“The injury happened at the worst possible time but I’ve recovered quicker than I was expecting.

“I’m glad to get 90 minutes and the goals, so I’m eager to kick on now.”

Coleraine travel to face Linfield at Windsor Park on Saturday afternoon and Friel is hopeful that he will be given an opportunity to impress at the National Stadium.

“There is plenty of competition of places in the attacking areas,” he concluded.

“Oran challenged me to take my opportunity tonight and hopefully I’ve done that.

“I know we have a few knocks at the minute but I’ll be ready if called upon.”