GIVEN Coleraine were denied the opportunity to complete the league season on the field and with it the chance to catch Danske Bank Premiership leaders Linfield, has, according to midfielder Jamie Glackin, generated a greater desire and determination among the Bannsiders’ players to capture the Sadler’s Peaky Blinders Irish Cup.
Oran Kearney’s Coleraine were just four points behind the Blues when the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic in early March.
After weeks of discussion and controversy, NIFL decided the season couldn’t be completed and using a mathematical formula duly crowned Linfield champions and Coleraine runners-up.
That was something of a hard pill to swallow for the Bannsiders, who, with seven games remaining, were quietly confident of reeling in David Healy’s men, given, among other things, that they had a particularly good record against the teams in the top six.
But it wasn’t to be and, while Coleraine have the consolation of securing European football, Glackin insists the Bannsiders have the sights firmly fixed on completing a cup double.
Back in February Coleraine won the BetMcLean League Cup and having tasted cup success the Omagh man says that has whetted the appetite for further glory. On Monday Coleraine lock horns with old adversaries Ballymena United in a bid to book a final showdown against either Glentoran or Cliftonville and Glackin admits that the four month lay-off due to lockdown has levelled the playing field.
“Everybody is eager to play, the spirit is good in the camp and we are really looking forward to the Irish Cup,” said the former Dungannon Swifts player.
“Ballymena, by their recent standards, have had a very poor season however they’ll have got something of a kick-start now that there is silverware up for grabs.
“They might see this as a second chance, an opportunity when prior to this their season would have been a write-off. The long break will have allowed them to refocus and in a recent interview their manager David Jeffrey said that.
“If the game had been back in March we would probably have steam-rollered them to be honest but now it’s going to be tough.
“There are never no guarantees in football and it’ll be hard for us to pick up where we left off. Going into a semi-final with no crowd and so on, it’s probably going to be that bit harder to get motivated and stuff.
“At the end of the day it’s the Irish Cup. Yes we have already qualified for Europe but we want that title of being Irish Cup champions as well.
“It’s going to be tight, no doubt about that.”