Coleraine 6 Windmill Stars 0
Irish League defences beware — Curtis Allen is back and raring to go.
The striker made his return from injury to score in the Bannsiders’ win against Windmill Stars on a day that also saw Jamie Glackin, Matthew Shevlin, Patrick Kelly, Aaron Jarvis and James McLaughlin on the scoresheet to set up a second round date with Portadown next month.
The 33-year-old had been out since early September with a broken foot, but helped the six-time competition winners put their Mid-Ulster League opponents to the sword.
Not only did the former Glentoran ace show he still has his predatory instincts inside the area, but he has also lost six pounds of weight as he adds to Oran Kearney’s ranks in the striking department for the second half of the campaign.
“It was brilliant to get a start,” he said.
“It’s been a long old road and it’s been hard for me.
“It took a bit of time before we realised I’d broken my foot so we’ve been working hard.
“Fair play to the club, they’ve put a lot of money in privately to help get me back, rehab, and our physios have been fantastic.
“Hopefully that showed on the pitch. I feel great, I’ve lost a lot of weight since I was injured and hopefully that will get me up and running for the rest of the season.”
The defeat brings an end to Windmill Stars’ fairytale run in the competition, but manager Kieran McCourt has reasons to be optimistic for the future.
“We can set ourselves up as a good cup team, against the bigger sides especially it does suit us with the personnel we have at the minute,” he explained.
“There’s no reason why we can’t get a good run in our domestic cups.
“We definitely have good things to aim for from now until the end of the season.”