McCallion is ready to Set up Cup surprise
Coleraine will take something of a step into the unknown when they kick off their very first Setanta Sports Cup campaign, but having been drawn against Glentoran and Bohemians for their maiden voyage into All Ireland waters, skipper Tommy McCallion is hoping they'll use that to their advantage.
While Glentoran, Cliftonville and Linfield are seasoned veterans of the cross-border competition, the Bannsiders will make their bow with McCallion believing that the surprise element may catch some opposition on the hop.
“I was chatting to a few people there and they really only knew about me from my time at Derry City and Glentoran and they know nothing about what I've been doing at Coleraine,” he said.
“We have sort of sneaked up a bit there and though Glentoran will obviously know us well, I don't think Bohemians will know a lot about us and that might be good for us.
“We beat Glentoran last year and had some very good results throughout the year so on our day we can beat anyone and this competition might just suit us that way because they are one off games.
“Everyone is really looking forward to it. I played in it in the very first year, while at Glentoran and it is a great experience and I know that all the lads are talking about it.”
McCallion actually believes that qualifying for the competition is better than getting into Europe.
“You get a couple of extra big games against top teams at home so that is going to bring a few extra quid into the club, you are playing against full-time players and as well as that there is a chance that you could pick up a few points and go on a run,” he added.
“It's a great competition in my eyes and one that we are proud to be involved in. We are delighted to be in it because we have a young team and it will be of great benefit to them in their development, especially against the League of Ireland teams.
“And as well as that, the experience of being in it this year will, hopefully, mean that we step up a gear in our own league and in the cup to try and make sure that we qualify for it year after year.”
Meanwhile, Cliftonville find themselves in limbo as they await Cork City's fate.
City have by Friday to come up with the money to pay outstanding taxes or they will be shut down.
While no-one likes to see any club fold, the Reds would, if they are honest, prefer not to have to travel to Cork.
Eddie Patterson's side can make plans for a trip to Sligo Rovers though, the west coast side are also making their first appearance and the Reds may just fancy their chances in that one.