Only one match this time but I wanted to draw a line under pre-season before the real business starts this weekend. Fortunately the last friendly was pretty eventful…
It’s been a few years since I last visited the Riada Stadium in Ballymoney but very little has changed. The place still has a weird microclimate all of its own. Regardless of how warm it may be elsewhere in the country, when I go there it’s always freezing.
Saturday was no exception. A muggy, damp day on which there was nothing better to do than take the short trip down the road to sit in one of the two tiny stands and shelter from the rain as Coleraine ran up six goals without reply.
Manager Oran Kearney split the squad in two, with half going to Ballymoney and the others going to Coagh. I actually would have preferred to go to Coagh, a ground I’ve never been to before, but alas I lacked the motivation to travel all that distance for a friendly.
The main talking point at the Riada Stadium was another fine performance from James McLaughlin, who helped himself to four goals and looks in good shape to lead the line for the Bannsiders against Cliftonville next Saturday. The other goals came from widemen Jamie Glackin and Ian Parkhill.
More difficult challenges lie in wait for Coleraine, Glebe barely forced goalkeeper Michael Doherty into making a save, but the minutes in the tank will prove valuable ahead of the big kick off, especially for the players coming back from injury.
Match Price: £5 💷
Match Rating: 6/10 (for a friendly)