UK news Stephen Craigan: Coleraine's display against Motherwell epitomised everything that's great about the Irish League and proved its doubters so wrong last news
MetiNews.Com - Irish League football is still looked down on by many and those same people probably haven't set eyes on the local game for years. They couldn't name you five players who play in the league, yet they dismiss everything about it.
Breaking News ! "Irish League football is still looked down on by many and those same people probably haven't set eyes on the local game for years. They couldn't name you five players who play in the league, yet they dismiss everything about it. But there's a reason why clubs across the water are dipping into the Irish League market.Clubs are seeing young players dealing with competitive football first-hand, which is vital for their development. There's no substitute for top-team experience and the Irish League offers that. Scouts are watching players in a first-team environment and they can judge so many of their characteristics.They will look at how they deal with the physical side of the game, how they react to disappointment or taking a knock, as well as their individual ability as a footballer. Gavin Whyte, Joel Cooper and most recently Josh Daniels are examples of how getting top-team action at a younger age can catapult your career forward.There are many ways to get to the top in professional football and for young players in Northern Ireland, the local game can be that platform.On Thursday night, Coleraine epitomised everything good about the Irish League with their performance and resilience against my former club Motherwell. Hopefully that will prove some of the doom merchants wrong. I doubt it though!Local football has always had committed players who leave nothing behind but sometimes other qualities are overlooked, which is unfair. Performances like Coleraine's on Thursday night will slowly but surely change people's opinion.In the first half, Oran Kearney's men were outplayed and looked out of their depth as Motherwell brushed them aside in their Europa League second qualifying round clash. Coleraine were probably happy to be just two down at the break.I've watched Coleraine enough over the past couple of seasons to know that wasn't a true reflection of Kearney's side. They were passive, hesitant and didn't play with the intensity they usually do.In their defence, it was understandable considering they hadn't played a competitive game since beating Maribor.
.The second half was everything Coleraine stand for. They upped their tempo, showed great spirit and were relentless as they chased Motherwell down.I know for a fact that's the type of game Stephen Robinson was expecting and Kearney's side didn't disappoint.They got the ball forward quickly to Eoin Bradley and James McLaughlin and took Motherwell out of their comfort zone. One player in particular who caught my eye was Lyndon Kane. I worked with him with the Northern Ireland Under-19s. He's progressed since, and it can't be long before he catches the eye of a team across the water.To be honest, the pitch was never going to be conducive to pretty football and Coleraine imposed their style on the game. They won second balls, they suffocated the Scottish Premiership side and at every opportunity put the ball into the danger area. You could see the players grow in belief and rightly took the game to extra-time before losing on penalties.As the dust settles, Coleraine will feel a bit unfortunate to be out of the Europa League. They have taken their game to a new level and in Oran have a manager whose stock keeps rising.Some people said to me Motherwell were lucky but I genuinely think the game deserved to go the whole way to penalties because both sides put so much into it. I know it's a hard way to lose, but the teams were so hard to separate so it was the only way.It had to be an Ulsterman that broke Coleraine hearts as well, senior international Trevor Carson with three terrific saves in the shoot-out. So, where do both clubs go from here?For Motherwell it's back to improving their domestic form and for Coleraine it's about using the disappointment of going out of Europe to inspire them to get back next season.I wouldn't bet against it."
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