Bannsiders boss Kearney looking forward to challenges that lie ahead

Oran Kearney
Oran Kearney

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney is relishing the challenge up ahead – starting with Saturday’s crucial Premiership clash against Portadown at the Ballycastle Road Showgrounds.

The Bannsiders have bravely wrestled their way out of the basement zone, with an impressive 2-0 midweek win over Dungannon Swifts their latest instalment.

Goals from striker David McDaid and long-serving Johnny Watt guaranteed the points.

After the Ports, it’s a daunting Setanta Cup clash at Dundalk, but Kearney wouldn’t have it another way.

“We’ll focus on one game at a time,” he said. “We’re in a nice little run at the minute

“We probably rode our luck a bit at Dungannon but it was all about getting the three points and trying to close the gap on the teams above us.”

The victory also helped erase the memory of Coleraine’s recent Irish Cup elimination at the hands of the Darren Murphy’s men, although Kearney doesn’t buy into that. Incredibly, it was their first win over the Swifts this season.

More importantly, it means the Bannsiders are now only five points behind the County Tyrone boys – and eight adrift of Ballymena Utd and Glenavon, who share sixth place.

“We’ve just eyes for the team above us – there is no looking down, so it’s important to keep our unbeaten run going,” said Kearney.

Portadown will be without midfielder Peter McMahon, who was sent off in last week’s 4-2 defeat by Glenavon at Mourneview Park.

“We just didn’t function on the day – we were poor,” said manager Ronnie McFall.

“A big improvement is needed. The conditions were poor, but we sat far too deep when the wind was blowing into our faces.”