Irish Cup pride the key for Coleraine boss Rodney McAree after victory against Larne at Inver Park

Coleraine kept their grip on the Tennent’s Irish Cup after a titanic battle against Larne at Inver Park on Friday night.

Saturday, 2nd March 2019, 8:00 am
Coleraine's Eoin Bradley celebrates scoring

And Bannsiders manager Rodney McAree praised his players’ drive to retain the trophy after battling back from deficits on two occasions before extra-time delight.

Eoin Bradley and Jamie McGonigle each finished with a brace, with a Ben Tilney own goal adding to the misery for a Larne team who had Davy McDaid celebrating a quarter-final hat-trick without overall success.

“They don’t want to give up the cup,” said McAree. “On a whole it is tremendous because of the way we stayed in the game.

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“We showed character to respond, we weren’t good enough in the first half but Larne were very good.

“The boys in there at half-time in the dressing room were hurting, their pride had taken a bit of a dent as well.

“It’s live on television with people all over the place watching it.

“The players were terrific and they deserve all the plaudits. It wasn’t free-flowing football that won the game - it was pure desire.

“When I came to Coleraine I wanted to be in the big games and you want to be involved in front of the big atmospheres and crowds.”

A gutted Larne boss Tiernan Lynch only had positive words about his Championship leaders.

“I will be honest, when we went 3-2 up I thought we had done enough,” he said. “I am super proud of the players, so we dust ourselves down and go again.

“Well done to the boys, it was a big night for them and we just didn’t do enough to get through.”