Coleraine manager Oran Kearney is relishing another trip down south as his side get ready to face Dundalk in this year’s Setanta Cup.
Kearney, who was a regular participant in the cross-border competition during his playing days with Linfield, leads the Bannsiders into their third Setanta campaign and hopes to keep Dundalk quiet at Oriel Park this Monday.
“You want to make sure the tie is still alive for the second leg and we did that against Rovers [last season]. We have to make sure we are in a similar position when we leave Oriel Park next week,” said Kearney, who is now in his fourth year in charge at The Showgrounds.
“We are going into the tie a bit blind to be honest as Dundalk are yet to play a competitive game. We have a few sources down there who have been able to help us out with regards to a few of the new signings, so we have tried to do as much homework on them as possible.
“We know it will be a tough game. Dundalk finished as runners-up last season just three points behind St Pats, so they have quality in their side.
“Stephen Kenny is a very good manager and he has made some astute signings.”
One of the new arrivals at Oriel Park is well known to Kearney, and if things had worked out differently he may have been lining up against the Lilywhites.
“It’s no secret we were after Ruaidhrí Higgins,” said Kearney. “He’s a fantastic player and is someone who would have brought a lot to our side.
“He is also good mates with quite a few of our players, which adds an extra element to the tie.”