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McConaghie is determined to prove big point against old side

By Billy Weir

One of Coleraine's unsung heroes has more reason than most to put on a display against Ballymena United in this evening's League Cup semi-final.

Defender Gareth McConaghie used to be on the books of the Sky Blues during Tommy Wright's reign before the Dervock man was released and started a nomadic footballing existence.

Spells at Lisburn Distillery and Limavady United, along with a return to the junior ranks, followed before fellow North Antrim man Oran Kearney took a punt on the 28-year-old still having plenty to offer at this level.

And so it has proven, McConaghie making the step up with ease and a win over Ballymena would do nothing to harm his reputation up Ballycastle Road way.

"Coming back to Ballymena, I have a point to prove and say 'this is what I could have done if given more of a chance'," he said.

"I had a few silly injuries and that held me back under Tommy but I'm happy now with Coleraine. They gave me the chance and fair play to Oran for giving me it."

The clash will see him up against another of the season's unlikely success stories in United striker Cathair Friel, whose goals have helped fire David Jeffrey's men into fourth spot in the Danske Bank Premiership.

McConaghie knows him well having played with Friel at Limavady and feels the game will be decided by the forwards.

"I think the key for both sides will be the strikers. Cathair seems to be on a streak, so it will be a matter of keeping their forwards quiet and hoping ours can hit the target at the other end," he said.

"Cathair has proven he had goals in him and he's got there by working hard and he deserves it but come Tuesday night I hope he doesn't get his way.

"We have to stop conceding silly goals. It's a big derby game and that makes it all the more interesting but it's in our hands if we want to get to the final.

"It's the biggest derby game I can remember, we're going to have a good support up with us and we need to go and do a job."

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