Hard work starts now as Coleraine bid to get over disappointment

Oran Kearney labelled Coleraine's season as "ultra disappointing" after their European play-off defeat to Larne, but insists the hard work starts now as they bid to turn things around next term.

By Steven Crawford
Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:16 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2022, 4:18 pm

Challenging for honours and qualifying for Europe have been staples for the Bannsiders under Kearney.

In the last four years Coleraine have finished runners-up in the league three times, won both the Irish Cup and League Cup and won memorable games in European competition.

So to finish this current campaign with no silverware or European qualification is a huge blow for the Showgrounds outfit.

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Coleraine boss Oran Kearney. PICTURE: David Cavan

But rather than be downbeat Kearney says they will be pulling out all the stops to make sure this season is the exception, not the norm.

“For me the season has been ultra disappointing because it’s about a standard," said the Bannsiders boss.

“People can say the league is moving on, there’s full-time teams and everything else, but for me, we just have a standard of how far we want to go and where we want to go.

“Up until December time I felt we were moving in the right direction as things were going well.

“Since December, January time it has really huffed and puffed with a League Cup defeat and the manner of it stuck in the middle of it as well.

“It’s been a disappointing second-half of the season and one that a lot of people around the club; players, fans, Board, everybody probably hasn’t been used to.

“It’s not something we want to get used to either so as the dust settles on this one, we very quickly start to plan for the next one.

“That will literally start next week and it’s already been in motion where we’ve made a big look at how we can evolve and how we can maximise even more to try and stay on the tails of the full-time teams and everything else.

“We’ve a lot of work to do on and off the pitch in relation to that and that will start very quickly."

An early own-goal from Rodney Brown and a very late second by Mark Randall sealed Coleraine's fate at Larne on Tuesday night.

Kearney was frustrated with his side's first half showing and revealed he let them know about it at the break.

Things improved in the second half but the Bannsiders couldn't find that elusive goal.

“It is a very difficult result to take," said Kearney.

“You expect these games to be cagey affairs and you expect them to particularly in the first-half, to be that way where isn’t much flow to the game.

“It probably looked like that for big parts of the first-half but it’s a header from a set piece which is not directed towards goal but it has hit off the back of Rodney’s head, hit the crossbar and gone in.

“No matter what it puts us 1-0 down and it makes it tough on a night like this.

“We had a right rattle at half-time, we just felt it was passing a few players by, there was nerves and edginess there for some reason and it was a real rattle to be honest with you.

“To be fair, I got a response and I felt second-half we pushed and pushed, we tried everything from a formation point of view to personnel to everything and realistically we’ve created two or three really good chances that would get us back in the game.

“You’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net and sadly we haven’t been able to do that."