Belfast Telegraph

Kearney striving to end Bann's trophy drought

By Stuart McKinley

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney has told his players that they should have the ambition to end this season by lifting the Irish Cup at Windsor Park.

The Showgrounds boss has experienced success in Northern Ireland's blue riband competition himself while playing for Linfield and now he is hungry to rid the Bannsiders of a seven-year itch, having last reached the final back in 2008, when they lost to the Blues.

He is even hungrier to bring silverware to the club and while Kearney admits that in their current circumstances a league title challenge is beyond Coleraine within the next couple of years, he sees no reason why the Cup shouldn't be a target for them.

And if anyone thinks that they may not be able to compete when the big boys traditionally battle it out in the later rounds, they should look at Coleraine's record in the league this season.

While they may have struggled for consistency, Kearney's men have enjoyed wins against Portadown and Cliftonville already this season and took a well deserved point away to Linfield last weekend.

"We do have it within our capabilities to have a cup run," said Kearney, ahead of today's Irish Cup fifth round clash at home to Warrenpoint Town.

"I have stressed to the players that on our day we can cope with anyone, which is a recipe for a good cup side and it's up to us to show that.

"We have spoken this week as players and staff of what we want to achieve and we should aspire to be winning cup competitions.

"Both home and away we have picked up some good results this season and that should give the players confidence that no matter who we come up against we can win the game."

The Bannsiders came close to winning the League Cup three years ago, only to lose out to Crusaders in the decider to a Chris Morrow goal.

They also reached another semi-final, but haven't progressed beyond the last eight of the Irish Cup since 2008.

"We have had a couple of runs in cups, particularly when we got to the League Cup final a few years ago," said Kearney.

"The team that we had then was maybe a bit too young for it and it probably came a bit too early for some of them, but there is no bad time to get to a cup final and if the opportunity comes around again I would hope that they are more prepared to take it."

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