Coleraine hit the Euro jackpot after a deserved European victory this evening.
The Bannsiders defeated La Fiorita 1-0 to progress into next week’s first round.
It’s a victory which will earn the club over 200,000 Euro’s.
It took a late James McLaughlin goal to turn all the Bannsiders’ pressure into victory. The striker collected Aaron Traynor’s long ball, controlled it and clinically finished it with just sixty seconds remaining.
But top defender Lyndon Kane has immediately turned his attention to next week’s clash.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Bannsiders who set off for Slovenia to face highly fancied MK Maribor.
Kane, instrumental in tonight’s victory over Fiorita from San Marino, can’t wait to step up another level.
As he basked in the achievement of representing his beloved Bannsiders in Europe for the first time tonight, the ever professional Kane immediately began looking ahead.
“That’s another one ticked off for me,” said a thrilled Lyndon.
“I made my debut for Coleraine, won a trophy with the club and now I’ve played in Europe. It’s a dream come true.
“Now we play Maribor which will be a massive test.
“As recently as 2017 they were in the same Champions League group as Liverpool which tells you about their level.
“But as a player you want to test yourself against that class of opposition.”
Kane is in no doubt that the recent Irish Cup semi-final defeat by rivals Ballymena United actually benefitted the team this evening.
“Both Fiorita and our league’s finished in March.
“But we had that huge game with Ballymena. Although we lost it whetted our appetite for the big occasions and I think it showed.
“Everyone has been training hard for about seven weeks now and we were buzzing to get out there and play again.”
Fellow defender Stephen O’Donnell was also beaming at the final whistle.
“On a personal level it’s a dream for us to now be going to play Maribor,” said the centre half who this week signed a two year contract extension.
“They have a great European pedigree and regularly reach the group stages of competitions.
“We were focused on beating Fiorita but beforehand you do allow yourself the luxury of dreaming of getting to the next stage.
“The fact Maribor beat Celtic few years back shows what we will be up against but we’ve earned the right tonight.”
Coleraine : Deane, Kane, Canning, Jarvis, Doherty, Lowry, McLaughlin, Carson, Traynor, Allen. (Substitutes – Gallagher, Douglas, Bradley for Allen 62; Tweed, Parkhill, Nixon for Carson 46;