League Cup Final: Oran Kearney out to build on cup success
Oran Kearney is all too aware of the knock-on effect of winning silverware at a club like Coleraine.
During his two spells with the Bannsiders Kearney has led them to success in both the Irish Cup and League Cup.
Not only did the trophy wins end a barren spell for the Showgrounds club but it also gave them an impetus to help build a sustainable future for the club on and off the pitch.
The way the landscape has changed in the Irish League over the last few seasons with the financial investment in some clubs and teams moving to a full-time model, Kearney knows it is getting even tougher to secure silverware.
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But the Bannsiders boss hailed the achievements of his own side and Cliftonville as they punch above their weight in search of honours.
“Any piece of silverware is great,” said Kearney. “Particularly the way the landscape of our league has changed over the last couple of years, getting to cup finals is even tougher.
“Two part-time teams that have made it to this stage, I think, is a massive credit as well.
“But these opportunities don’t come around too often.
“We waited a long time to get to our first cup final, we’ve had a few cup finals since then but you don’t know when the next one will come round either.
“So it’s so important that you take these opportunities when they’re there.
“Sunday could be a big catalyst and kick you on for the rest of the season.
“European football is the big goal...it’s important with what it has done for us as a club over past couple of years.
“We don’t have a benefactor like other clubs have – we have to generate revenue ourselves.
“We’ve had harsh years in European draws and good years where you can possibly get through a round.
“It’s made a massive impact on the future of Coleraine FC.”
There are a big number of players still at the club who have contributed to the Bannsiders’ success in recent years and Kearney feels it would be fitting for them to taste more success.
“Another cup final win would be just reward for this group of players,” he said.
“You’ve got the stalwarts – Lyndon (Kane), Josh (Carson), Stephen Lowry, Stephen O’Donnell – who have been a big part of that and are ultra deserving.
“I appreciate you don’t always get what you deserve in football but they – along with the new ones who have come in and carried that can – have been brilliant.
“The one thing I hope we have in our changing room is know-how, not saying it’s through me or it’s my fault.
“If you look at some of the games we’ve played in in the last few years – both domestically and foreign - and the magnitude of some of those games and some of the results we’ve got, that crux of players hasn’t changed...so there is know-how there.
“We’ve had tough games against Cliftonville all season...they’ve kind of taken over the mantle of where we were last year, where they are the part-time team that’s gone and pushed the full-time teams.
“Big credit to Paddy (McLaughlin) and Cliftonville for doing that.”