COLERAINE get their 2021/22 campaign underway this evening as they make the journey to Inver Park to face Larne (KO 7:45pm)…
Danske Bank Premiership
Pre-season preparations complete, European commitments fulfilled and new signings through the door – it must be time for the new Danske Bank Premiership season to begin as the Bannsiders make the trip to Inver Park to lock horns with Larne this evening. The Stripes could be set to hand a debut to new signings Conor McKendry and Cathair Friel following their arrivals, with 600 away supporters set to land in East Antrim. The fixture marks the first of five successive away games for Coleraine due to ground redevelopment works.
Larne have enjoyed a fruitful European campaign as they celebrated success in the Europa Conference League against Bala Town and Aarhus, before being eliminated by Pacos de Ferreira despite beating the Portuguese side at home. Tiernan Lynch has been busy adding to his squad with the signings of Rohan Ferguson, Mike Argyrides, Cian Bolger, Kofi Balmer, Ben Doherty and Navid Nasseri.
The two sides met four times in the Danske Bank Premiership with Coleraine winning three of the contests and Larne the other.
The first was back in November last year as Larne made a strong start to proceedings at The Showgrounds and a deadly brace from former Coleraine striker Davy McDaid proved to be the difference as Tiernan Lynch’s side walked away with all three points.
In January, Coleraine avenged that defeat as they went two goals to the good in the early stages of the game at Inver Park through Stephen Lowry and James McLaughlin. The Inver Reds ensured there would be a nervy finish through Albert Watson’s strike but Coleraine held firm.
After Coleraine suffered their first defeat in 17 games to Cliftonville in March, the Stripes welcomed Larne to The Showgrounds in a midweek game and they responded in fine style as Curtis Allen headed home in the first-half, before James McLaughlin’s effort one minute after the restart settled the contest.
On the final day of the season, Coleraine knew that they had to better Glentoran’s result to confirm a runners-up spot in the Premiership table. Tiernan Lynch’s troops took the lead through Matthew Lusty’s tremendous effort with both sides creating chances to score before the half-time interval. However, Coleraine would equalise through James McLaughlin’s close range finish and the comeback was complete when Ben Doherty’s cross was steered home by Curtis Allen.
“We have had some exciting battles up at Inver Park,” Kearney said.
“I think when you start the season you are best going off with a bang and play against one of the big boys as such.
“Larne have had a great summer with Europe, probably similar to what we experienced last year, so they will in good form and ready to go.
“Therefore, it is important that we match that and put in a good performance.”
The match referee will be Andrew Davey.
The assistant referees are Ryan Kelsey and Stephen Bell.
Steven Gregg has been allocated as the fourth official.
Coleraine supporters will require tickets to enter the stadium which can be purchased HERE.
Away supporters will be situated in the recently opened Church End stand and are required to enter the stadium through the Church road. We encourage our supporters attending tonight’s game to wear a face covering when in close proximity to others.
Parking facilities will be available at Riverdale Car Park, Laharna Retail Park and First Larne Church, all of which are a short walk to Inver Park. No parking facilities will be available within the stadium itself.
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).