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Cliftonville is a shining example with which you can compete with full-time employees: Oran Kearney

Danske Bank Irish Premiership: Coleraine v Linfield (Today, Coleraine Showgrounds, 3pm)

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney points to the famous example of Cliftonville and how they managed to keep pace with full-time opposition – and hopes the Bannsiders can do something similar.

Speaking ahead of today’s visit from league leaders Linfield, Kearney is unimpressed with the scale of the challenge facing part-time clubs like Coleraine with Linfield, Glentoran, Larne and Crusaders now adopting full-time models.

“Full-time teams should dominate part-time teams,” said Kearney, whose team sits in sixth place.

“Those are the joys of football. We finished second last season ahead of full-time teams. Being full-time is a shining model, there’s no doubt about that.

“We have to find ways, just like Cliftonville are this season, to penetrate that and make sure that we don’t make it easy for them and that we overperform and hope they underperform compared to the resources they have. . It’s football all over the world – in England, Scotland and the south too.

“It’s an age-old problem in football and it’s one we just have to embrace.”

The Reds are still in the title hunt and are more than holding their ground against full-time opposition.

While Coleraine will be disappointed with his mid-table return at this stage of the season, Ballycastle Road’s new 4G surface has had a transformative impact on the club and the surrounding community.

“It has been an absolute joy to see what the new ground has brought to the community every night from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. and it’s great to be around the Showgrounds rather than at the university during the week,” Kearney said. .

“It’s like anything, there was an adjustment to have the new pitch but I think we’ve adjusted really, really well. I think that will help us rather than hold us back.

Now the Bannsiders are hoping to avenge their 2-1 home loss to Linfield in December.