26/08/2010 : Looking forward to the new season
COLERAINE Rugby Club is set for the new season and hopes are high that it will be a much stronger performance this year.
Some of the new players at Coleraine with president Dennis McCrum and coaches
As the club teams set their sites on the league and cup competitions to come, club coach Richard Kernohan has been talking about his plans and hopes for the season, ahead of the opening match, a friendly away to Ballyclare on Saturday.
He was speaking on Thursday evening after a training match among many of the senior squad members. The hard fought match was followed by a reception hosted by President Dennis McCrum, to welcome new and existing players to the new season.
Richard said: “Training is going very well. Numbers are very good and the guys are training hard consistently.
“We have a lot of new faces already out training and there still some to come. Jarleth and Jonny Carey are back in the side. Neil Patterson is coming back as well and it is great to have them back at Coleraine.
“We also have some great young local talent in the side with Chris Barber and Nathan Rankin, both also training with the Ulster U19 squad, and Stuarty Simpson with the Ulster U20 side. We are also hopeful that Captain Steven Dickey will soon be back from injury.”
Things are looking very positive at the moment. Richard said: “Strength and depth are the big changes this year and the whole club dynamic is changing. We had 36 guys out tonight and at least ten more to come to the squad and all of those I would consider to be potential senior squad members.
“The atmosphere is different and there is no negativity as you can see tonight. We have a strong squad and guys are pushing hard for positions.
“The club president talked to the squad tonight and it’s great to see the link between ‘blazers’ and the players getting closer.”
Richard explained the ambitions the club holds for this year. “Everybody wants to win their league or win a cup but realistically I see us competing for top four and having a run for a cup somewhere.
“We finished second last season but this year we have greater strength and depth. There is obviously room for improvement.
“We have guys having to compete for positions which they have not had to do before. We have a lot of very talented young players staying with the club and some older hands coming back to the club and of the fifteen that will take the field pretty much all of them will be Coleraine guys.
“That is important. We didn’t want to bring in a whole influx of people from outside the area. It was really important to us to keep the quality Coleraine players at Coleraine and it especially good to have players like Jarleth bringing his experience to the side.
“It is very important to the senior squad to have the Seconds do well, winning games and keeping training. The coaches will be going with them on Saturdays to support them and report back on player performance.
“I prefer to think of it as the senior squad rather than Firsts and Seconds, and there is nothing between them. For once we have two or three guys available for every position.”
Last weekend most of the senior squad were off to Donegal for some intensive training.
“We are of to Killybegs this weekend for a pre-season team training trip. It is also a chance for the new guys to meet and get to know the other squad members and the coaches. We have a B&B to ourselves. We are beside a beach and training ground so it is all ideal for us.”