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Coleraine targeting a glorious end to season: McGonigle

By Alex Mills

Jamie McGonigle believes Coleraine can end the campaign in a blaze of glory. The 21-year-old striker is relishing the prospect of lining out against Glenavon in Saturday's Tennent's Irish Cup semi-final at the Warden Street Showgrounds.

Oran Kearney's boys are in the best possible shape as they are unbeaten in their last 14 games. They perhaps have a little psychological advantage over Gary Hamilton's Lurgan Blues, having registered a 2-1 win at Mourneview Park a fortnight ago.

McGonigle, however, insists that result will mean nothing.

"It will not have any impact on this match," he said. "This will be a totally different game. Both teams will come out determined to win - there is a lot at stake.

"I know Gary rested a few of his players last time. And he did the same last Saturday, making something like 10 or 11 changes against Ards. They (Glenavon) have secured top six in the league and, mathematically, have no chance of the top three.

"The Cup is the only thing they have to play for, whereas we are trying to hold third place which could ultimately be our ticket to European football, so we have to be ready.

"There will be no shortage of confidence. Everyone is playing well, we are scoring. Everyone is excited and ready to go."

McGonigle stresses that Eoin Bradley has made an enormous contribution to the team since returning from Glenavon in January.

"Before our unbeaten run began, we just couldn't score," said McGonigle. "We had a terrible December. For some reason, we couldn't buy a goal. But now we are hitting the net regularly.

"Skinner (Bradley) has made a massive impact since he rejoined.

"We are all learning from him. He has a massive presence up front. He's scoring, I've started to score and James (McLaughlin) played the full 90 minutes last weekend. Things are looking good for a big finish to the season."

The Bannsiders underlined their potential by defeating Crusaders at the Showgrounds last Saturday. McGonigle added: "When you play Crusaders, you have to dig in. They specialise in the long ball, so we knew we had to set up well and when we got the ball it was important to hold it up and take our chances.

"Yes, it may have taken a penalty kick to settle it, but it was a stonewall decision. Fair play to Skinner. He put it away after having one saved in our previous game against Ballymena, although he followed up to score from the rebound."

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