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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

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Ex-pro Stephen Kirkbride joins Kells coaching set-up

Kells will boast a new-look coaching set-up tonight when they tackle Glasson in the Amateur Cup final at Copeland Stadium in Whitehaven.

Stephen Kirkbride photo
Stephen Kirkbride

Former pro Stephen Kirkbride has joined long-time boss Peter Smith following Mark Ryan’s move to the Recreation Ground as a new assistant coach with Haven.

Kirkbride is one of a handful of Kells stalwarts who have helped out over recent weeks, much to Smith’s appreciation.

“I work shifts and can’t do it on my own, and it’s always nice to have another voice,” said Smith.

“Playing-wise, Stephen has been at Warrington, Workington and Whitehaven and knows the score. With everyone rallying round, it will make us stronger, and hopefully that will show tonight.”

Ex-pros Craig Benson, Martin O’Neil and Gary Smith are ineligible to face Glasson, but top prospects Ben Milburn and Connor Holliday, just back from a successful BARLA Great Britain Emerging Young Lions tour to the Czech Republic, will come in to contention.

“They have done well and are both really good lads,” added Smith, who stressed his respect for Glasson coach Steve Maguire.

“He’s got them going well and they will be up for it. It will be a tough ask.”

The game of the day tomorrow will be at Wath Brow, who host National Conference rivals Siddal, second in the Premier Division. The Hornets missed the chance to go level on points with the leaders last weekend when they went down 26-20 at West Hull, but a win over Siddal will keep them in strong contention for honours.

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