IRISH LEAGUE: Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan sets sights on fifth spot in Premiership

Glentoran's Jonathan Smyth in action against Coleraine's Darren McAuley and Adam Mullan
Glentoran's Jonathan Smyth in action against Coleraine's Darren McAuley and Adam Mullan

Glentoran boss Alan Kernaghan still hasn’t given up hope of catching fifth place Coleraine come the end of the season.

The Glens had to make do with a point at The Showgrounds on Saturday despite carving out the better of the chances.

They needed a second half penalty from Jonathan Smyth to cancel out James McLaughlin’s early strike for the Bannsiders.

And in the end Kernaghan’s men had Elliot Morris to thank for securing a share of the spoils.

Twice in the dying minutes Morris denied Jamie McGonigle and Ian Parkhill as he kept the 10 men at bay.

Speaking afterwards Kernaghan said the Bannsiders were still firmly in their sights.

“Our only goal is to try and catch Coleraine and to get that home spot come the play-offs,” he said.

“I’m pleased we showed a competitive attitude in the second half and clawed ourselves back into it.

“The early goal knocked the momentum out of us and it took us a while to get going.

“But we showed a good attitude in the second half.

“We didn’t really get going in the first half, we had quite a bit of possession, but we were a bit disjointed.

“We were much better in the second half, we were on the front foot. We hit the post and the cross bar, had a couple blocked on the line before we eventually got the goal.

“So I’m pleased with the second half, we maybe could have gone on to win it, but then we had the heart attack at the end, but Elliot produced a fantastic save to earn us a share of the points.

“It was a bit of a roller coaster, a bit like our season rolled up into a game.”

Kearnaghan’s opposite number, Oran Kearney agreed there was plenty of ups and downs on the day.

“It was a crazy game,” said the Bannsiders boss.

“This was the second of a double header and probably the first game was the complete opposite of this one.

“We struggled to get going in the first half of that game at The Oval, but we came out really strong in the second half and were unlucky not to take something from the game.

“Today we started really well, but we didn’t get to grips with things in the first ten minutes of the second half.

“Glentoran came out strong, we dealt with the majority of it quite well and it looked like we had weathered the storm and were about to come out again.

“Obviously the penalty puts them straight back into it – it’s a double whammy it’s a penalty and a red card with it.

“It’s a big turning point in the game and we get a double punishment for the one offence.

“To be fair to our lads, we dug deep, we weathered a storm and maybe could have won it but for a couple of cracking saves by Elliot near the end. It would have been harsh on Glentoran at that time if we had scored, but I’ve seen it happen before.”