Domestic blues but Oran Kearney sights on Coleraine’s European goal

Colerane boss Oran Kearney took comfort from positives off the pitch on Saturday followng a disappointing day on it at Shamrock Park.

By Patrick Van Dort
Monday, 21st March 2022, 7:42 pm

Second-half goals from Adam Salley and Harry Anderson left his side suffering Premiership pain at the end of a week that kicked off with League Cup final heartbreak.

However, Kearney pointed to his side’s significant goal difference boost and overall points tally as cause for celebration in pursuit of the European football play-offs

“The most pleasing thing about today was the way other results have gone and it guarantees us top six,” said Kearney. “For us now the key thing is to be ready for a play-off at the end of the season.

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Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Pic by Pacemaker.

“We’ve a lot of players who have played maybe too much football this season and a few who maybe need to top up if they want to be in contention for those games and a few out injured we need to nurse back over the next couple of weeks.

“Let’s be honest, we need to peak for the two most important games now which will be the two final games.

“It’s like a mini-pre-season as such in that it’s already planned out.

“We’ve a three-game week this week which probably isn’t ideal with the numbers we’ve got, then a spare week so, ideally for us, we’ve got to get players back then.

“Ideally, we peak when it matters towards that final test.”

Kearney refused to use any pain from Sunday’s League Cup final loss to Cliftonville as key to the Shamrock Park league defeat to Portadown.

“It was a frustrating day, I thought up until Portadown got their goal we were very strong,” said Kearney. “The elements probably have an impact on the first half.

“It’s one of those with maybe the week we’ve had and injuries we’ve got, we were patched up today and it was important for us to take one of those first-half chances.

“If we get that opportunity and take it for something to move with into the second half, it probably gives us a stronger position.

“When always 0-0 you always run that risk of the first goal going against you.

“At times it was our final decision, going for a shot at angles when maybe we should have crossed...we were muddled and conditions had something to do with it, players concentrating on the connection instead of what’s around them.

“I don’t think it’s a cup final hangover, it hurt us more than just the result with injuries and suspensions, self-inflicted and unfortunate.

“It’s been a frustrating week and a long week, it was good to get back to training and then today’s match...with every passing hour you move on and that’s life and football.”


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