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Stephen O'Donnell has total faith in Coleraine stars to deliver Irish Cup crown



Coleraine’s Stephen O'Donnell.
Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

Coleraine’s Stephen O'Donnell. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

Coleraine’s Stephen O'Donnell. Photo Mark Marlow/Pacemaker Press

Stephen O'Donnell has declared that he wouldn't swap any of the Coleraine players for those in the Cliftonville dressing room.

The Bannsiders skipper, who has excelled this season in defence, insists he has much respect for Irish Cup final opponents Cliftonville but has total trust in his team-mates approaching the big game at Windsor Park on Saturday.

Disappointed to miss out on the league title to Crusaders on the final day of the campaign at the weekend, O'Donnell wants to lift the Cup for manager Oran Kearney, the board and the fans who have backed the players every step of the way this season.

"The Cup final is a big opportunity for us to reward the club, the board, the fans and give Oran something back. He more than deserves it with the job he has done," said O'Donnell.

"Coleraine are on the way up and we need to be playing European football and be in Cup finals and challenging at the top end of the league year after year.

"We have played Cliftonville four times this season. They are a strong side and have really good attacking players but, without being disrespectful to them, we are more than confident in our own ability.

"I wouldn't change anyone in our changing room for anyone in their changing room. That's no disrespect to the players they have, it's just how much I trust our boys."

O'Donnell paid tribute to the influence Kearney and assistant boss William Murphy have had on his game this season. He also deserves great credit himself for what has been a brilliant personal campaign.

On Saturday at the Cup final, he will carry his three-month-old daughter Lily onto the pitch ahead of kick-off.

"It will be a proud moment for me having Lily in my arms," he said.

"My fiancée will be there, as will my mum and dad. They have all helped me so much and I know it would mean a lot to my family if we could win the Cup."

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