Cliftonville are a shining example you can compete with full-timers: Oran Kearney

Oran Kearney is unfazed by the challenge of competing with full-time clubs

Danske Bank Irish Premiership: Coleraine v Linfield (today, Coleraine Showgrounds, 3pm)

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney points to the celebrated example of Cliftonville and how they’ve managed to keep apace with full-time opposition – and hopes the Bannsiders can do something similar.

Speaking ahead of today’s visit of league leaders Linfield, Kearney is unfazed by the size of the challenge that faces part-time clubs like Coleraine with Linfield, Glentoran, Larne and Crusaders now embracing full-time models.

“Full-time teams should dominate part-time teams,” said Kearney, whose side sit in sixth place.

“That’s the joys of football. We finished second last season ahead of full-time teams. Being full-time is a brilliant model, there’s no doubt about that.

“We’ve got to find ways, just in the same way Cliftonville are this season, of breaking into that and making sure we don’t make it easy for them and that we over-perform and hope that they under-perform in relation to the resources they have. That’s football the world over – in England, Scotland and down south as well.

“It’s an age-old issue in football and it’s one we’ve just got to embrace.”

The Reds are still in the title hunt and are more than holding their own against full-time opposition.

While Coleraine will be disappointed with their mid-table return at this stage of the season, the new 4G surface at Ballycastle Road has had a transformative impact on the club and surrounding community.

“It’s been an absolute joy to see what the new pitch has brought to the community every night from six o’clock to nine or 10 o’clock and it’s great being around the Showgrounds rather than at the university during the week,” Kearney said.

“It’s like anything, there has been an adjustment to having the new pitch but I feel we’ve adjusted really, really well. I do think it will help us rather than hinder us going forward.”

Today, the Bannsiders hope to avenge their 2-1 home defeat they suffered at the hands of Linfield back in December.


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