Match Preview

Stripes begin cup defence

COLERAINE begin their quest for a third Irish Cup final in a row as H&W Welders make the trip to The Showgrounds (KO 3pm)…

The Stripes finished their Christmas and New Year schedule in fine style as they romped to a 4-1 success against Cliftonville on New Year’s Day. The victory was secured via strikes from Eoin Bradley, Stephen Lowry, Aaron Canning and James McLaughlin, meaning the Bannsiders secured 10 points from a possible 12 over the festive fixtures. The result also moved Coleraine up to fifth position in the Danske Bank Premiership – four points behind Glenavon in fourth. As for the Welders, they currently occupy 5th spot in the Bluefin Sport Championship but were defeated 3-1 by Knockbreda last time out.

Coleraine brought the Irish Cup trophy back to the North Coast for the first time since 2003 last season as they triumphed 3-1 over Cliftonville back in May HERE. The Cup run started with a 7-0 win over Lisburn Distillery in the fifth round, before Institute were put to the sword in the sixth round via a brace apiece from Jamie McGonigle. A solitary strike from Darren McCauley proved enough to edge out Glentoran in the quarter-final and Larne were beaten in the last four as Lyndon Kane, Gareth McConaghie and Josh Carson got on the scoresheet. After losing in the 2017 decider, Coleraine made amends as they lifted the trophy via goals from Darren McCauley, Aaron Burns and Eoin Bradley.

Coleraine boss Rodney McAree will be without the services of Lyndon Kane, Aaron Traynor, Graham Crown and Aaron Burns through injury. However recent signings Ben Doherty and Jamie Glackin are in contention to make their debuts. Despite going into the game as favourites, McAree has demanded his players to be on top form in order to progress to the next round.

“Harland and Wolff Welders are a great cup team and it will be a cup final for them so they will come here and give it their all,” he said.

“We must make sure we are better than them to ensure we progress to the next round.

“There are a lot of players who need a rest after the period of games we have just come through but we will see what bodies we have available and take it from there.”

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

Supporters are reminded that entry is via cash gate only, with admission prices set at £11 adults and £7 concessions/OAP’s. Furthermore, the match will be played to a finish, meaning extra-time and penalties will be used if required.