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Quinn out to make up for Euro anguish

Marty Quinn will not allow the denial of a place in Europe to knock his Coleraine team's focus on winning the Irish Cup.

Under normal circumstances facing Linfield - who are the closest thing you will get to certainties for the Irish League title without actually clinching the crown - in the Irish Cup final would have the Bannsiders already getting ready for a UEFA Cup adventure in July.

That was the case when Quinn led his men into the showpiece against champions Glentoran five years ago, when they stopped Roy Coyle's men from claiming a clean sweep.

This time around, however, even lifting local football's blue riband trophy won't be enough for them to be heading across the continent as under UEFA Licensing laws a club that has been in administration in the last three years is barred from competing in Europe.

"I was made aware of the situation by the club before they issued a statement and I passed the message onto the players," said Quinn.

"They were naturally disappointed because every player wants to have the opportunity of testing themselves at that level, but they realise that for Coleraine getting to the Irish Cup final is a bonus. It's not that long ago that the gates were locked and we thought the club was dead, only to be up and running again 24 hours later.

"The other side of things is that some of the draws in Europe aren't particularly lucrative sometimes so we will take it on the chin and we'll still be going out to try to win the cup.

"That won't be easy against the best team in the country, but we won't fear Linfield."

One bonus for the Bannsiders though is that no matter what happens on Saturday week, they are expected to be handed the Setanta Sports Cup place which is allocated to the Irish Cup, with a Domestic Licence all that is required for that competition.

"I will be very proud to take the club into the Setanta Cup," said Quinn. "I have watched the competition for the last three years and it has been a target of ours to get there at some stage."

The main problem for Quinn between now and Saturday week's outing against the Blues at Windsor Park is just what the make up of his team will be.

Goalkeeper David O'Hare and defender Stuart Clanachan missed last Saturday's win over Armagh City as they face a race against time to be fit for the final. Captain Tommy McCallion was rested against Armagh so as to protect a hamstring strain and that quartet has been joined by Jody Tolan, Howard Beverland and Paddy McLaughlin.


Crusaders have signed central defender Gareth McKeown from Portadown.

The former Derby County trainee will move to the Shore Road club in the summer.

Belfast Telegraph


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