Coleraine ready to begin another assault on title, warns O'Donnell
Coleraine defender Stephen O'Donnell has warned Crusaders that the Bannsiders are up for another title fight next season.
The Crues claimed the Gibson Cup after finishing two points ahead of Oran Kearney's side, but the men from the north west lost only one league game during an incredible title assault.
Coleraine went on to lift the Tennent's Irish Cup but a first title win since 1974 eluded the Bannsiders.
"We showed in our European game how good a side we are and how much we have improved from last season," said O'Donnell.
"It's important for us to improve on last season and I think we've showed an improvement already. The focus now switches to the league campaign and the boys are hungry to get started and be successful."
Coleraine lost 3-1 on aggregate to Spartak Subotica following a 2-0 defeat at the Showgrounds on Thursday. Despite crashing out of the Europa League, the Irish Cup holders put up a brave fight and showed the same character that rewarded them with silverware last season.
"I am disappointed in the final result, but I'm equally as proud of the boys and how we performed over the two legs," O'Donnell said. "We deserved a lot more than we got."
O'Donnell believes their European exploits have given them the perfect platform to challenge on all fronts this campaign.
"The European ties have set the benchmark for us going into the season. Performing at that level week after week has to be our aim," O'Donnell added. "If we can manage to reach those levels of intensity and quality, we will be there or thereabouts."