Oran Kearney questions league start date

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It’s something of the calm after the storm now for Coleraine as they prepare for the new season to start.

The Bannsiders have been focused on their Europa Conference League qualifiers with FK Velez Mostar for the past month.

A narrow aggregate defeat now leaves Oran Kearney’s men kicking their heels for the next six weeks until their Danske Bank Premiership opener with Larne on August 28th.

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Matters are complicated slightly though as all the other local leagues commence competitive action three weeks earlier on August 7th leaving the Premiership clubs with a shortage of friendly opponents leading up to the big kick-off.

Coleraine boss Oran KearneyColeraine boss Oran Kearney
Coleraine boss Oran Kearney

“It’s going to be very tough because for some other reason all the other leagues from Championship down kick off at the start of August, so I don’t know what any of us are going to do for friendlies after that,” said Kearney.

“The rest of the country will be playing competitive football, I don’t know what we’ll do bar play each other.

“We’ll have to look at teams who we don’t play until later on in the fixture list.

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“It’s not ideal and I’m not sure why it’s been done this way, but that’s where we are at this point.”

Kearney, though, is relieved that the fixture schedule is less congested than last season.

With the number of full-time clubs in the league increasing the Bannsiders boss feels for part-time clubs like his own getting plenty of rest between games will be key to being competitive.

“How we finished second last season with our resources and everything else that goes with it was a big credit to everyone particularly with the relentless fixture schedule,” added Kearney.

“What will help us, even a little bit, will be playing once a week. It gives us a better chance to be fresher and compete with the full-time teams.”