Irish Cup semi-final: Coleraine 'won't give up cup lightly' - McAree

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Rodney McAree and Stephen Baxter look ahead to the Irish Cup semi final
Tennent's Irish Cup semi-final: Coleraine v Crusaders
Venue: The Oval, Belfast Date: Saturday, 30 March Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two NI and the BBC Sport website; text commentary on the BBC Sport website

Coleraine manager Rodney McAree says his side "will not give up the Irish Cup lightly" when they face Crusaders in Saturday's semi-final at the Oval.

The holders face a Crues outfit who hope to add to their County Antrim Shield success, but with their hopes of retaining their league title now gone.

"We'll respect Crusaders but we won't fear them," said McAree.

"We haven't won the cup for 10 years so we'll give it our best shot," explained Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter.

"Both teams have not done as well in the league this year as they would have liked so it's a case of all the eggs in one basket for everybody," added the Crues boss as they chase a first Irish Cup win since 2009.

"It's a massive game of football. Coleraine are a superb side and we've had some good games against them this season."

Crusaders lie four points behind second-placed Ballymena United in the Premiership following last weekend's 1-1 draw with Ards and know that a runners-up spot in the league or a cup final victory is needed to secure Europa League football.

Baxter's men have had a tough route to the final, having seen off Glentoran, Linfield and Ballymena en route to the last four, with Coleraine having defeated Championship outfits H&W Welders, Dergview and Larne.

Lowry brothers Philip and Stephen will find themselves on opposing sides in Saturday's semi-final
Lowry brothers Philip and Stephen will find themselves on opposing sides in Saturday's semi-final

Coleraine 'need quality to go with hard work'

The Bannsiders have won two of the three league meetings between the sides this season, with the north Belfast side taking victory in the other.

"Crusaders are an extremely good side who have been very successful over the years but it's a great opportunity for us to reach another final," argued McAree.

"I know what our players are capable of but we need to produce it more regularly and deliver when it matters.

"In an Irish Cup semi-final you can guarantee you'll get that hard work and that effort but we have to try and find the quality to go along with that.

"We want to give something back to the town, something back to the supporters. Coleraine has enjoyed having the Irish Cup in their hands for a year."

Warrenpoint Town play Ballinamallard United in Saturday's other semi-final (15:00 GMT).

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