We’re not here just to make up the numbers says Windmill Stars boss

Windmill Stars boss Kieran McCourt has a simple message for his players as they prepare to face Coleraine in the Irish Cup this afternoon - “Go out and enjoy it!”.

Saturday, 8th January 2022, 8:30 am

The Mid Ulster Intermediate A side have landed the plum draw in the first round of the Samuel Gelston’s Whiskey Irish Cup.

McCourt’s men have already dispatched Armagh City and Tobermore United in previous rounds of this year’s competition.

And while this may be a mammoth test for his players the Stars boss wants them to do themselves justice at The Showgrounds.

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Windmill Stars players celebrate reaching the first round of the Irish Cup following their win over Tobermore United. PICTURE: Brendan Monaghan

“Go out and enjoy it is the message,” said McCourt.

“Go out and enjoy the day and enjoy the occasion, but at the same time we want to be on the ball.

“We want to be doing ourselves justice both individually and collectively and we want to do the club justice.

“We’re not just going to go down there to take selfies, and make up the numbers, and come down the road happy with whatever we get out of it.

“We’re going down there to do ourselves justice and make a game of it, contain them, and put as much pressure on them as we can.”

McCourt admitted he would have preferred taking on a lower ranked team to give his side a better chance of progressing to the next round.

However, he knows the significance of taking on one of the top clubs in the country especially as this is the first time Windmill Stars has reached this stage of the competition.

“It’s some achievement for the club and some achievement for the players,” said McCourt, reflecting on the success his side have enjoyed this season.

“In the first round we skipped through after a cracking free-kick against Dungiven, but we laboured that day.

“Against Armagh, we put out probably our best performance of the season, even though we had two or three starters missing, so that was a big high for us.

“Against Tobermore, we won 2-1 and we were well deserved winners, as we were the better team. We were the better team on both occasions to be honest, against Armagh and Tobermore, which the players can take confidence from.

“A lot of our players have been here a long time, the club had got to the fourth round a couple of times, but just fell short so, it’s good for the lads who are in their last year or coming towards the end of their time with the club.

“From a coaching point of view, you’re looking at the draw and thinking that there’s still teams there who would give us a better chance of getting into the sixth round,

“But from the club’s point of view you’re dreaming of the big clubs – Cliftonville, Linfield and so on, and Coleraine are definitely in that bracket.

“Getting Coleraine is a massive draw for the club and a massive day for the club, but from a personal viewpoint, I’d have liked a draw that could have got us into the sixth round.”

Preparation for the game hasn’t been ideal for Windmill with several of their recent fixtures having been postponed, but the Stars will certainly give Saturday’s clash their best shot.

“We had a good boost at the time of the draw, the boys were buzzing, and training was good,” said McCourt.

“Then, unfortunately we had a few games cancelled due to the weather and we could have done with those games going ahead because we have had a longer break before Christmas than we would have liked.

“The preparation hasn’t been ideal, but we will definitely give it all that we can.”