COLERAINE begin their defence of the Irish Cup trophy tomorrow afternoon and colerainefc.com looks back on last season’s triumph…
Coleraine 7-0 Lisburn Distillery
The Bannsiders started their campaign with a fifth round tie at home to Premier Intermediate side Lisburn Distillery. The fixture saw Stephen Dooley make his debut after joining on a short-term deal from Cork City and his arrival helped ease Oran Kearney’s men into the next round. The first goal arrived when Gareth McConaghie had the simple task of firing home from close range, before Stephen Dooley and Jamie McGonigle added to the scoreline before the break. Englishman Martin Smith got on the act as he arrowed into the bottom corner and the introduction of Matthew Kirk from the bench paid dividends as the talented youngster grabbed a late brace as the 2017 beaten finalists marched into the sixth round.
Coleraine 4-0 Institute
The Stripes were once again handed home advantage as high-flying Institute were the visitors to the Ballycastle Road. Paddy McLaughlin’s men were chasing automatic qualification back to the top flight and it was seen as a potential banana skin for Kearney’s troops. However things got off to a great start for the home side as Jamie McGonigle opened the scoring after good build-up play by Lyndon Kane. The lead was stretched soon after as Josh Carson’s inswinging free-kick was headed into his own net by Stute defender Dean Curry. The contest was over before the half-time whistle as Eoin Bradley pounced on hesitant defending to cleverly lob the ball into the net. A fourth goal duly arrived after the interval as McGonigle bagged his second with a neat turn and finish.
Coleraine 1-0 Glentoran
An inspired performance from Coleraine goalkeeper Chris Johns helped the Bannsiders secure a spot in the Tennent’s Irish Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 win over Glentoran. After a slow start to proceedings at The Showgrounds, it took a moment of magic for what proved the only goal to arrive. A fantastic lay-off from Jamie McGonigle found Darren McCauley and his effort slotted under the body of Elliot Morris. The visitors missed two glorious chances to send the game into extra-time as Allen headed wide from eight yards, before Steven Gordon latched onto a through ball from Dylan Davidson and fired straight at man-of-the-match Johns.
Coleraine 3-1 Larne
Ballymena Showgrounds was the venue as high-spending Larne was the next hurdle Coleraine would have to overcome if they were to reach a second successive Irish Cup final. The chances of the first period at each end came within seconds of each other when Larne’s David McDaid blasted a square ball from strike partner Thomas Stewart wide before Coleraine raced up the pitch for Eoin Bradley to test Conor Devlin with a low drive. However the breakthrough arrived in spectacular fashion as defender Lyndon Kane let fly from 25 yards that found the bottom corner. That lead was cancelled out as ex-Coleraine striker David McDaid headed in at the back post from David Scullion’s cross. Just as the Larne support finished celebrating, they found themselves behind as Gareth McConaghie headed in from Josh Carson’s corner-kick. The victory was wrapped up in added time from the penalty spot after Brad Lyons was fouled inside the area. The calm and confident Josh Carson sent Conor Devlin the wrong way to set-up a decider with Cliftonville.
Coleraine 3-1 Cliftonville
The Bannsiders’ 15-year wait for a major trophy was ended as they overcame Cliftonville at Windsor Park. The players arrived looking to re-write the wrongs of a defeat to Linfield a year previous and they found themselves goalless at half-time. The deadlock was finally broken minutes into the second half as Darren McCauley expertly found the top corner after a neat cut back from Aaron Traynor on the left-hand side. The game was levelled moments later as Rory Donnelly had the easy task of rolling the ball into an empty net as Conor McDonald went on a surging run from midfield. Oran Kearney decided to shuffle his pack and it had the desired effect as Aaron Burns was introduced from the bench to put the Stripes back in front as he pounced on a defensive mistake from the Reds. The match was sown up in added time as Eoin Bradley cleverly dinked the ball over Brian Neeson to send the Coleraine fans into raptures.