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Coleraine close in on 6,000 ticket sales for Irish Cup final

By Graham Luney

Coleraine are on course to bring as many as 6,000 fans to this year’s Tennent’s Irish Cup final as the 2018 showpiece looks set to feature an even bigger crowd than a year ago.

Within three days of going on sale, 10,000 tickets have been shifted for the Bannsiders’ clash with Cliftonville at Windsor Park on Saturday, May 5.

Coleraine’s 3-0 defeat to Linfield in the 2017 decider was witnessed by 12,551 fans — the biggest Cup final crowd since Glentoran beat Linfield 1-0 after extra time in front of  14,190 back in 2001.

The Bannsiders’ allocation for the South and East Stands has virtually sold out but the Irish FA has opened a section of the Kop for their fans.

Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry hailed the fans for their phenomenal support and confirmed the players can expect a “nominal bonus” should they win silverware, with the Premiership title and Irish Cup in their sights.

“I would estimate that Coleraine could bring as many as 6,000 fans to the final and that’s an extraordinary figure,” said McKendry.

“We are absolutely delighted with the ticket sales and it’s symptomatic of the feel-good factor at the club and the goodwill from the community.”

Coleraine will receive 1,000 tickets for the West Stand and they will be on sale in the club shop from 6pm this evening.

The last time the Bannsiders lifted the Irish Cup in 2003, 9,000 supporters watched the 1-0 victory over Glentoran.

McKendry confirmed the players will receive a financial reward if the club’s trophy cabinet can be unlocked in the coming weeks.

“A nominal bonus has been agreed and the pleasing thing from our perspective is that the players haven’t asked for it,” he added.

“Money is not our motivation and if it was we would be in it for the wrong reasons.

“The club will reward the players and recognise their extraordinary efforts this season and it’s only right the club shares a percentage of its prize-money and income with them.

“The Irish Cup final is a reward for the town as well as the football club and, for the supporters, it’s like our trip to Wembley and we want to enjoy it this season.

“With two games to go in the league, you never know what can happen and the Cup final will hopefully be enjoyed a lot more by this year as I felt it passed us by in 2017.

“And hopefully the title goes to the last weekend but it’s great for the league and makes it an exciting finish.

“We haven’t lost at home this season and that’s an incredible effort from the players.”

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