Family-first principles on hold as siblings clash in Sport Direct Premiership

Philip Lowry (above) of Crusaders faces off against older brother Stephen.
Philip Lowry (above) of Crusaders faces off against older brother Stephen.

Sports Direct Premiership

Coleraine v Crusaders (Saturday, 3pm)

BROTHERLY love will be put to one side at the Coleraine Showgrounds tomorrow afternoon as the Lowry siblings go head-to-head, when the Bannsiders host Crusaders in the Sports Direct Premiership.

Younger brother Philip will be hoping to get one over older brother Stephen, in what could make for some family tension come Sunday lunch.

“I always look forward to taking the field against Stephen.  It may have lost the uniqueness as we have been facing-off since we were kids, but it’s always interesting nonetheless” Philip said.

So how does the relationship pan out in the week before the duel between two of the best players to come out of Limavady?

“We try not to talk too much about the game in the lead up to match day.  

“It’s not like I avoid him, but we’re both professionals and understand that if I blurped anything out and him likewise, it could prejudice us both in our roles, mine at Crusaders and his at Coleraine.

“But we have plenty of other things to talk about, that’s for sure”.

Whilst 36-year-old Stephen has struggled with injury over the course of the last two seasons and is finding his way back into a starting spot under manager Oran Kearney, 34-year-old Philip is going from strength to strength at the Crues, finishing top scorer at the club last season and being runner-up in the player of the year awards.

The north Belfast side had a blistering start to the season but after a heavy defeat at home to Cliftonville and another midweek defeat away to leaders Linfield, are doubts creeping in?

“I don’t think so, we don’t need anyone to tell us our performances weren’t up to scratch, but the character will be in the response” Lowry Junior says.

Stephen Baxter’s men currently occupy fourth spot in the table, with a win tomorrow pushing them as high as second in the table if results go their way.

For Coleraine, after a superb away victory over Glentoran, they were hammered beyond recognition by a ruthless Cliftonville side 5-0 on Tuesday night.  They will hope to get their season back on track with a victory that could move them from seventh to fourth spot.

It was Baxter’s side that had the upper hand last season, winning three of the four encounters between the sides as Coleraine’s pre-christmas promise shrivelled badly in the latter stages of the campaign.

For the Lowry boys, whatever happens on the pitch, they will surely share a cold one afterwards as family comes first.