It is the eagerly awaited Tennents Irish Cup Semi Final on Saturday evening and Crusaders and Coleraine play at The Oval (5.30pm) for the right to play in the showpiece final on Saturday 4th May. Crusaders are on a decent run at present in all competitions while Coleraine have not been able to get a run together of late.
Crusaders have left no stone unturned in preparation of this game and the team have been superb all week in training. Confidence is high and everyone is really looking forward to the game. Nearly all the team are fit at just the right time and Stephen Baxter and his management have the "nice" problem of picking a side from such a talented squad. The starting XI could be different from last weeks as several rested players may get the nod. Expect Billy Joe Burns to return and Colin Coates, Philip Lowry and David Cushley to name but three will come back into contention to begin from the start. Colin Coates could be especially important in this game when he comes up against Eoin Bradley and he has had the better of him lately. The last time these teams played Crusaders won 4-2 in front of live cameras and hopefully this is an omen. Hard work and effort have got the team to this stage already having beaten Glentoran (4-1 Home) Linfield (2-1 Away) and Ballymena United (3-0 Home) on the way to the Semis.
Coleraine of course are the current holders of the Tennents Irsh Cup and will not give it up easily. Rodney McAree has had indifferent form in the Premiership but his cup run has been steady and they will be a formidable opponent. They have threats all round the team and a solid keeper in Chris Johns. In defence Gareth McConaghie is the man that stops most things while Eoin Bradley and James McGonigle are the goal scoring threat that Crusaders will have to contain. Jamie Glackin who played for Crusaders last season now plays in Coleraines midfield and he will have a point to prove against his old team mates. Coleraine havve reached the Semis by beating H&W Welders (2-0 Home) Dergview (3-0 Home) and Larne (5-3 Away)
So all set for an absolute smashing Semi Final. You can still buy tickets on line at Ticketmaster for the game and we would love to see you there if you are still thinking of going. The game kicks off at 5.30pm at The Oval and will be played to a finish. Let's get out in numbers, wear your Red & Black and get behind the lads vocally from the start. Crusaders supporters will be in the Home End for this match. Keep The Fiath.