COLERAINE and Cliftonville meet for the second successive year in the Irish Cup as Solitude plays host to the Sixth Round clash this afternoon (KO 3pm)…
Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup Sixth Round
Coleraine moved up to fourth in the Danske Bank Premiership last weekend after a 3-0 win at Dungannon Swifts last weekend. The Bannsiders would seal the success as Matthew Shevlin netted twice – making it 50 goals for the club – as well as Eamon Fyfe’s close range finish which got him up and running since arriving from Dundela. Oran Kearney will once again have to do without the services of Jamie Glackin who is suspended, with the Stripes prevailing against Loughgall in the previous round.
Cliftonville remained top of the Premiership standings after an emphatic 4-0 win against Ballymena United at Solitude. A first-half brace from Joe Gormley added to goals from Ronan Hale and Sean Moore earned all three points for Paddy McLaughlin’s side in north Belfast. The Reds have been buoyed by the return of former Coleraine defender Aaron Traynor to their ranks in recent weeks and beat Dundela in the fifth round of the competition.
Coleraine and Cliftonville met on the opening day of the season at The Showgrounds with the Bannsiders looking to get off to a winning start. They certainly did that as they led by two goals at the break as Evan McLaughlin netted a quick-fire brace in front of a packed Ballycastle Road. However, Cliftonville reduced the gap as Ryan Curran headed into the back of the net from Levi Ives’ cross before they hit the woodwork through Ronan Hale’s powerful drive. After weathering that storm, Oran Kearney’s men would seal all three points at the death as Jamie Glackin’s shot went over the body of Fynn Talley.
In October, Coleraine would be home once again to the Reds but would find themselves 2-0 down inside the opening 14 minutes as Rory Hale hit a double after two defensive errors. The Bannsiders reduced the arrears at the break as Conor McKendry’s strike took a wicked deflection and went over the body of Nathan Gartside. However, early second-half pressure from Cliftonville would pay off on 62 minutes as the Reds went 3-1 ahead as a corner kick by Jamie McDonagh was headed into the net by Ryan Curran. The Stripes brought on Evan McLaughlin and James McLaughlin in a bid to get back into the contest and they pulled another goal back on 77 minutes as a terrific delivery by Josh Carson was steered into the net by Matthew Shevlin. Despite setting up a grandstand finish, the north Belfast side would leave with all three points on 89 minutes as a quick counter attack involving Chris Gallagher and Luke Turner allowed the latter to cross for Joe Gormley who headed into the back of the net.
Cliftonville would be the opposition for the Bannsiders in the semi-final of the BetMcLean Cup in December. The Stripes fell behind at half-time through Ronan Hale’s effort but deservedly forced extra-time when Matthew Shevlin fired in from Conor McDermott’s cross. However, Paddy McLaughlin’s men would hit the front in first-half extra-time as Odhran Casey blasted a drive into the net after Coleraine failed to clear a corner kick. Despite that setback, Coleraine levelled for a second time as Shevlin headed home from Lee Lynch’s cross to set-up penalties. After both Lyndon Kane and Ronan Hale missed from 12 yards, every other penalty was scored apart from Casey who blazed over as Coleraine reached a third successive League Cup final.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Coleraine were the visitors to Cliftonville in the Danske Bank Premiership and trailed at the break due to Ronan Hale’s long range effort. However, just before the hour mark, the Reds would stretch their advantage as Ronan Doherty’s corner kick went directly into the net. Despite that setback, Oran Kearney’s men would fightback and earned a share of the spoils after scoring two goals in as many minutes as Matthew Shevlin netted a quick fire double. The hosts would end the contest strongly but couldn’t find a way past Martin Gallagher to earn all three points.
“We will go there in a positive mood,” Kearney said.
“It’s a break from the league, we will park it and all focus will turn to today’s game.
“We will look forward to it, those are the games you want to be a part of and the Irish Cup has been both good and bad to us.
“You want to be in it and the mix; we had a good Cup win and a draw there recently so we will give it a rattle.
“The players are well aware of how important the Irish Cup is both for the club and them personally.
“Nobody wants to watch it on the television or thinking they wish it was them that was getting off the bus and onto the pitch.
“The players are under no illusions and they want it as much as everyone else.”
The match referee is Tim Marshall.
The assistant referees are Stephen Bell and Paul Robinson.
Steven Gregg has been allocated as fourth official.
Supporters are advised that entry is via tickets only HERE.
If you are not feeling yourself this afternoon and you have symptoms which you feel are similar to COVID-19, please stay away from the stadium and think of others.
As ever, those unable to watch the fixture can follow the latest developments via the club’s official Twitter account (@ColeraineFC).