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Irish Cup: Coleraine hope Bertie is dressed for success

By Victoria Leonard

Coleraine's statue of one-time Northern Ireland great Bertie Peacock has been kitted out in the local team's blue and white kit as excitement builds ahead of today's Irish Cup final.

The town has been flooded by a sea of blue and white, as the Bannsiders prepare to square up to Linfield at Windsor Park.

The bronze statue of late former Northern Ireland player and manager Bertie (inset), who also managed Coleraine, has been dressed in an old Bannsiders away kit bearing the number 17, which symbolises the year in which the team hope to dash Linfield's chances of claiming the treble.

Coleraine's 'Caring Caretaker' Davy Boyle, who has raised £500,000 for local charities over the years, spearheaded the campaign to deck the town out in the team's colours.

"I wanted to get people behind the team and it has really taken off," said Davy, who intends to travel to the match.

"The reaction in the town has been brilliant -shops have dressed up their windows and their mannequins and there are flags and stickers saying 'C'mon the Bannsiders' everywhere.

"One local hairdresser has even had a picture of a Coleraine footballer and James Nesbitt painted on her window. I am expecting there to be a great atmosphere at Windsor Park."

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