COLERAINE are at home for the first time this year as they welcome Loughgall to The Showgrounds in Irish Cup action this afternoon (KO 3pm)…
Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup Fifth Round
Coleraine started 2023 with a goalless draw against Linfield at Windsor Park which made it seven consecutive clean sheets in the Danske Bank Premiership. Despite the hosts having the majority of the chances, the Bannsiders dug deep to earn a share of the spoils that preserved their fifth position in the table. However, attention quickly turns to the Irish Cup as Oran Kearney’s men prepare for their first game in a busy week as they also take on Newry City and Portadown. The Stripes were able to hand a debut to Eamon Fyfe against the Blues following his move from Dundela.
Loughgall are currently top of the Lough41 Championship table by two points as Annagh United continue to mount pressure on the Villagers. Dean Smith’s side travel to the north coast on the back of a 2-1 defeat against H&W Welders with a former face in Nedas Maciulaitis making a return to The Showgrounds. There is plenty of experience in Loughgall’s ranks as the likes of Berratt Turker, Mark Carson, Ally Teggart, Robbie Norton and Mark Patton have played in the top flight.
This will be the first competitive meeting between the two clubs since 2013 – but Loughgall have given the Bannsiders a knock-out blow twice in the Irish Cup.
In the 1996/97 season, after drawing away from home 1-1 – with a goal from Robbie Brunton – Coleraine were expected to seal their place in the semi finals in the replay at Ballycastle Road but the hosts were stunned as they lost 1-0.
Four years later and a similar fate befell the Bannsiders. A 2-2 draw in the fifth round meant another replay at the Showgrounds and Coleraine again came out second best, losing on penalties after a scoreless draw.
It hasn’t all been doom and gloom in their cup adventures however as Coleraine did defeat Loughgall 2-1 in the sixth round in the 1998 season.
“It will be a tough one,” Kearney said.
“They lost on Monday which makes it even worse as they’ll be coming with even more bite.
“I’ve watched them a few times and they’re a good side with a lot of good players.
“They’re not sitting top of that league for no reason.
“It’s important, and I’ve said it to the players, that we’ve got to make sure that we’re bang on it on Saturday if we want to progress.
“They are going really well and play some good football so we need to be on the money.”
The match referee will be Shane Andrews.
The assistant referees are Paul Robinson and Niall McGuinness.
Joseph Mullan has been selected as the fourth official.
The match sponsor is Stevenson & Reid.
Jude Smyth has kindly agreed to sponsor the match ball.
The mascot this afternoon is Jamie Law.
The Man of the Match award will be sponsored by Holley Optometrists.
Coleraine supporters are advised that season tickets are not valid for the fixture, therefore, match tickets need to be purchased HERE.
Loughgall fans will need tickets to enter the stadium which can be purchased HERE.
Both sets of supporters are kindly asked to read the following matchday arrangements 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).