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Ulster Club Championship: Coleraine will stick to aggressive instincts

By John Campbell

Coleraine Eoghan Rua will not be intimidated by tradition when they take on Burren in the Ulster Club football championship quarter-final at Pairc Esler, Newry on Sunday (2.30).

While the Down champions have sampled glory on the All Ireland stage (1986 and ’88) and strung together an impressive array of Down and Ulster titles, Coleraine have only emerged from virtual obscurity within the last three years having been consigned to the intermediate sector up until then.

But in carving out a glorious Derry county championship title triumph this term Coleraine have provided proof positive that they are now well-equipped to dine at the province’s top table.

Sean Leo McGoldrick’s side’s stunning progress has been highlighted by a refreshing policy of all-out attack and a steely determination not to be fazed by reputations. Thus Burren, under the baton of former Down hurling manager Frank Dawson, will find themselves confronting a team whose self-belief has soared and whose sense of ambition has been significantly heightened.

McGoldrick’s four sons — Barry, Sean Leo, Ciaran and Colm — along with their cousin Niall Holly form the backbone of a Coleraine side that embodies pace, workrate and passion as well as a very marked scoring edge.

They bring a rare level of intensity to club action, their togetherness invariably evident in a strategy that has served them well to date. The fact that they have now become conditioned to accepting the role of underdogs appears only to further sharpen their ultra-competitive edge.

Burren’s resources are certainly impressive — Daniel McCartan, Declan Rooney and Kevin McKernan were pillars of the Down side that reached the All Ireland final, James McGovern is a potent forward who was also on the Mourne county panel and Eamon Toner is a solid target man.

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