Belfast Telegraph

Why I think Coleraine have started the season so well, explains David Jeffrey

 

By Billy Weir

Colraine's fantastic start to the new campaign is largely down to one thing, according to David Jeffrey - hurt.

The manager of the Bannsiders' bitter local rivals, Ballymena United, can do nothing but sit and admire the start Oran Kearney's side has made.

The toughest test to their unbeaten start will come this weekend at home to Linfield, and it was a thumping defeat to the Blues in last season's Irish Cup final that Jeffrey feels has been the catalyst to their magnificent leap from the blocks this time around.

"I knew that the disappointment of the Irish Cup final, not just losing it but the performance, would be a big spur," explained Jeffrey.

"That was a great lesson. I know that some people won't see that as the case, but when you get to that point and don't perform on the big stage, that's a really good lesson, and you say, 'That's not going to happen again'."

Of course, Jeffrey knows the men at the helm of the Bannsiders better than most having had manager Kearney and head coach William Murphy under him while he was Linfield boss.

He is acutely aware of the role they have played in making the youthful side tick and the style of football they are displaying.

"How they're playing at the moment doesn't surprise me," he added.

"If you go through the journey Oran has been on since being joined by William, the number of high-profile players who for one reason or another left the club, young players were brought in and while they may still be young in age they are very experienced with regards to the Irish League.

"That has been down to patience and a lot of hard work, and the quality there is absolutely first class."

The biggest test of that will come this weekend at Ballycastle Road.

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