Coleraine won’t underestimate their opponents says Stephen Lowry

Stephen Lowry says Coleraine will not be underestimating their Europa League Preliminary Round opponents La Fiorita.
Stevie Lowry pictured modelling Coleraines new European kit. PICTURE: David CavanStevie Lowry pictured modelling Coleraines new European kit. PICTURE: David Cavan
Stevie Lowry pictured modelling Coleraines new European kit. PICTURE: David Cavan

The Bannsiders were handed home advantage against the club from San Marino in yesterday’s draw.

But Lowry has urged some caution as he was part of the Linfield side which edged out the Sammarinese side 1-0 in a Champions League qualifier back in 2017.

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“I played in both games, and they are not a bad side,” said the midfielder.

“They were well organised and we struggled to break them down.

“We only scored late on in the first leg so that tells you everything you need to know.

“We certainly will not be underestimating them. We know we will be in for a tough encounter, and with it being a one-off game now anything could happen.

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“The big bonus is that we are at home. Given the current situation it is not much fun having to travel anywhere.

“I don’t think we would have been able to get out and about much if we had been drawn to go there, and it probably would have been a quick turnaround for us.

“We have to try and make sure we make our home advantage count and hopefully make it through to the first qualifying round.”

The Bannsiders came agonisingly close to achieving that feat on their last foray into European competition.

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Serbian outfit Spartak Subotica were the opponents at this same stage back in 2018 as Lowry made his second debut for the club.

But a debatable 96th minute penalty in Serbia denied Coleraine a famous away win, before they lost the second leg 2-0.

“Yeah that was a bit of a sore one to take,” said Lowry.

“We had played really well in both legs and didn’t really deserve to go down 3-1.

“But the carrot is there for us to win a round and progress in the tournament.

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“Not only would we write ourselves into the history books, but it would also be a massive boost financially for the club.

“Obviously we have some big plans to redevelop the ground and money like this would go a long way.

“Other clubs have recorded some big wins in Europe in recent years and we want to do the same.”

After being out of action for nearly five months Coleraine have had the irish Cup semi-final and now this European tie to deal with in quick succession.

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“It’s all starting to feel very real now with the draw being made,” said Lowry.

“We want to put the disappointment of the Irish Cup behind us.

“We have ten days or so to train our focus on what we have to do.

“We have been working very hard over the last few weeks and fitness levels are very good.

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“Now it’s all about fine tuning and looking at our opponents and focusing on what we need to do to make it into the next round.

“As a player you want to play in big games, and playing in Europe is certainly that.”


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