Matchday Guide

Matchday Guide: Cliftonville

COLERAINE are at home as we start our post-split schedule with the visit of Cliftonville to The Showgrounds (KO 3pm)…

Sports Direct Premiership


Coleraine secured their top-six status two weeks ago after the 1-1 draw against Dungannon Swifts was coupled with Carrick Rangers’ defeat to Linfield. It means Oran Kearney’s men will be involved in the end-of-season European play-offs as they aim to go into those contests in the best possible form. The Stripes will have Lyndon Kane back from suspension after his dismissal against Crusaders but Stephen Lowry is out following his red card against Dungannon Swifts.

Cliftonville have twice been in action since Coleraine last played as they beat Larne in the Irish Cup semi-final, before losing to the same opposition at Solitude in the Premiership. The Reds face Linfield in the Irish Cup decider and only require two more points to guarantee European football – irrespective if they win the competition against the Blues. Jim Magilton’s side are third in the Premiership and ten points behind leaders Larne.

Previous Meetings:

Cliftonville would pick up all three points from the first meeting between the two clubs earlier this season as they ran out 5-0 victors at Solitude. The Bannsiders would shade the first-half but would ultimately be behind at the break as a corner kick was headed on by Jonny Addis at the far post and the instinctive Joe Gormley was in the right place at the right time to head home from close range. However, the Reds were in cruise control after the interval as Ben Wilson scored twice, alongside Gormley completing a hat-trick to make it a night to remember for Jim Magilton’s side.

In October, Coleraine would welcome Cliftonville to The Showgrounds and were left wondering how they didn’t take a first-half lead as Jamie Glackin and Conor McKendry both had great opportunities saved. The Reds would score at the other end on 57 minutes as Shea Kearney’s cross was volleyed home by Ben Wilson but Coleraine would equalise 11 minutes later as McKendry blasted high into the roof of the net. It looked like the game was always going to be settled by one goal and it was Cliftonville who got it as good work by Stephen Mallon allowed Sam Ashford to convert from close range.

Furthermore, the two teams would be paired in the Irish Cup for the third successive year as The Showgrounds played host. After a goalless 90 minutes – which included red cards for Cliftonville’s Sam Ashford and Coleraine’s Lyndon Kane – the extra-time period would belong to Ronan Hale as he netted a devastating hat-trick to send the Reds through to the next round.

In February, Cliftonville would take an 11th minute lead as ‘keeper Rory Brown unfortunately slipped whilst on the ball which allowed Ronan Hale to convert a simple tap-in. The task would become even tougher on 22 minutes as Cliftonville doubled their advantage. A cut-back from Ronan Hale found Shea Kearney just inside the box and the full-back arrowed a strike into the bottom corner. Coleraine made a bright start to the second-half and halved the deficit with 50 minutes on the clock. Good work by Conor McKendry and Lee Lynch picked out Matthew Shevlin, and after his header was expertly saved by David Odumosu, the alert Jamie McGonigle was on hand to prod home from close range. Unfortunately, that hard work would be extinguished just two minutes later as Cliftonville regained their two-goal cushion. A long throw into the area wasn’t defended by Coleraine and this allowed Sam Ashford to pick his spot in the far corner. The Reds would have to finish the contest with 10 men as Odhran Casey was dismissed for two yellow cards on 80 minutes, with Coleraine missing a big chance from the resulting free-kick as Shevlin headed into the gloves of Odumosu. Despite being a man down, the Reds would give their fans a fourth goal to celebrate as the industrious Rory Hale seized possession deep in the Coleraine half and curled an unstoppable effort beyond the reach of Brown.

Manager’s Thoughts:

“I’ve got to massive credit to the players in that changing room because there’s been a lot thrown at them this season,” Kearney said about qualifying for the top-six.

“Some would say ‘rightly so’ and some would say not due to the levels of injuries and bodies we’ve been missing for large parts of the season.

“At one stage, we had six or seven games without a win and to have that record held against you in the season that it’s been to have the means to find a way to go and get top six is massive.

“It shows the strength of character and type of people we have in the changing room.”


The match referee will be Ben McMaster.

The assistant referees are George Argyropoulos and John Doherty.

Lee Tavinder has been selected as the fourth official.


The match sponsor is Wes Gregg Coleraine Supporters’ Club.

Members of the Wes Gregg Coleraine Supporters’ Club have also kindly agreed to sponsor the match ball.

The mascot this afternoon is Jessica.

The Man of the Match award will be sponsored by Holley Optometrists.


Season tickets are valid for the fixture, although, non-season ticket holders will require matchday tickets for the fixture which can be bought online HERE.

Cliftonville fans will need tickets to enter the stadium which can be purchased HERE.

The Social Club will be open from 11:30am – with football on the big screens, post-match entertainment and drink promotions.

Nevin Oliver, Raymond Kirk and John Mairs will be brought to the crowd at half-time in recognition of their sterling efforts with the Friends of Coleraine.

Due to a good expected at The Showgrounds, we encourage both sets of supporters to arrive at the ground in good time HERE.

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