Tuesday 13 August 2019, Kick Off 7.45pm
On Tuesday night we welcome Oran Kearney’s Coleraine to the Oval in our first home Danske Bank Premiership match.
The corresponding match last season set the tone for what was to follow as a 2-1 lead through Curtis Allen and a Peter McMahon wonder strike, was cancelled out in the 87th minute by an Eoin Bradley header when our defence was caught cold by Darren McAuley. In November we had the mirror image of Friday night in Lurgan when 10-man Coleraine – again through McAuley – equalised a Robbie McDaid header for a 1-1 finish. The Glens won’t miss McAuley, now with Derry City. In February three penalties (the first two missed) awarded by Keith Kennedy and a red card for Calum Birney eventually broke our resistance for a 2-0 away defeat. Our one success over the Bannsiders last season was at the Oval in the Bet McLean League Cup where we won on penalties are a 3-3 draw with our goals coming from John Herron and Curtis Allen (2).
Marcus Kane and Conor Pepper are still suspended for this one. Moko will be available for the weekend trip to Dungannon but Conor has two more matches of his suspension to be served. However, Elvio Van Overbeek’s international clearance has been completed so all our close se3ason signings ate available, apart from Cameron Stewart who’s back in training following his recovery from a broken toe.
Coleraine have had a somewhat traumatic close season, driven by managerial change. Steven Crawford of the News Letter and the Coleraine Times, told www.glentoran.com : “Coleraine will start the new campaign with a sense of optimism after the return of Oran Kearney, the Ballymoney man, who guided the Bannsiders to runners up spot in the league and the Irish Cup in his last season at The Showgrounds. But Kearney knows this year’s campaign will be the most competitive in years. Linfield and Crusaders have both strengthened already impressive squads, Cliftonville and Ballymena United will be looking to kick on again, and in Larne and Glentoran there is two teams who look to have the resources to be able to mount a genuine challenge for honours. Despite a disappointing campaign last time out the Coleraine squad is still packed with quality. The loss of Jamie McGonigle was a blow, but Kearney has moved to bring in Emmett McGuckin, who although is somewhat of an unknown quantity at this level has a lot of potential. The Bannsiders boss is hopeful of bolstering his squad further before the window shuts at the end of August. Aaron Jarvis is one player Kearney is keen on bringing to the Ballycastle Road, although Institute are determined to hold on to the talented midfielder”.
Mick McDermott: “Mourneview on Friday night I was more pleased with the result than I was with the performance. We let Glenavon back into the game after our early opener and were punished for it. I thought we controlled big parts of the game but Glenavon dug in well after going a man down and we weren’t able to penetrate that often enough or well enough. It was the first game of the season and the players generally aren’t fully up to speed by then. Plus we’ve Elvio still to come in while Marcus and Conor are two very big players for us, and we have them to come back in shortly.
Tuesday’s match is another challenge we’ll need to meet. Coleraine have had a difficult summer, but they’ve been a regular top six team in recent years so we’re obviously going to take them seriously. These are the teams we need to compete with, head to head this season if we’re going to finish as high up the table as I expect.