Oran Kearney has described Coleraine’s late Setanta Sports Cup entry as a “massive opportunity” for the Showgrounds club.
The Bannsiders – along with Ballinamallard United – accepted an eleventh hour invitation to compete in next year’s tournament following Linfield and Cliftonville’s decision to withdraw.
Coleraine are no strangers to the all-Ireland format, having played Shamrock Rovers in last year’s running.
“We got the invite and we decided it would be a massive opportunity,” Kearney said.
“The funding might be slightly down on previous years, but it won’t cost Coleraine anything to participate .
“We can easily cover costs and things like that, so it is a great chance to go out and compete against some top teams.
“There are pros and cons with the tournament, and other clubs have their reasons for pulling out. That is up to them.
“We are just pleased to have been given an invite, and it is something we can look forward to next February.”
Setanta Sports have announced a new three-year sponsorship deal with the competition.
Brian Quinn, Marketing Operations Director of Setanta Sports, said: “We are delighted to renew our position as sponsor and broadcaster of the Setanta Sports Cup. It’s a tournament that is very dear to us at Setanta and has been embraced by fans north and south.”
The prize fund of €73,000 includes €30,000 for the winners.
Other participants will receive €4,500 each.