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

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

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.

“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.”