Oran Kearney craves more cup magic with Coleraine

For Oran Kearney winning silverware is what football is all about.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 6:00 am

The Coleraine boss is currently engaged in a tense battle with Linfield and Glentoran at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

European football and the riches that go with it is the carrot being dangled in front of those teams.

But Kearney wants more. As a player he won the lot with the Blues, and he has added the Irish Cup and League Cup as honours won during his time in the Bannsiders hot seat.

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Coleraine manager Oran Kearney.

On Tuesday night they get their Irish Cup campaign underway at home to Crusaders and Kearney says winning the competition is at the forefront of their mind, not European qualification.

“Europe is brilliant and the joy it brings with that experience, but for me it’s about medals and winning things,” he said.

“For me moving forward in this league, that’s going to get harder and harder to be at that table and have a chance of winning things. So every moment counts.

“I look back to the journey I’ve been on at Coleraine and particularly when it sort of finished off with that Irish Cup win, it’s been great memories and such a catalyst for us and the whole north coast.

“So many people will still talk to you about the day and Eoin Bradley’s goal and the celebrations.

“It’s moments like that that are as important,” added Kearney.

“Europe is brilliant and the joy it brings with that experience, but for me it’s about medals and winning things,” he said.

“For me moving forward in this league that’s going to get harder and harder to be at that table and have a chance of winning things. So every moment counts.

“I look back to the journey I’ve been on at Coleraine and particularly when it sort of finished off with that Irish Cup win, it’s been great memories and such a catalyst for us and the whole north coast.

“So many people will still talk to you about the day and Eoin Bradley’s goal and the celebrations.

“It’s moments like that that are as important.

“Europe is brilliant, and I know maybe at board level it’s important, and the players get a huge amount from that experience, but for me it’s about medals and trying to compete and wanting to win things.”

That win and those wild scenes of celebrations in 2018 when Kearney set off on a Mourinho-esque run down the touchline will live long in the memory, even though he admitted he didn’t really know what was happening at the time.

“I actually wasn’t thinking anything that day, it was like an outer body experience,” said the Bannsiders boss.

“At one stage I snapped out of it hugging Ciaron Harkin, him roaring at me and I’m thinking ‘what am I doing here?’.

“You don’t realise at the time but when I look back now the journey we’d been on as a club, and the journey I had been on with all the tough times, that was probably the biggest release ever.

“With that the Irish Cup will always have a place in my heart and always one where we want to go and do the same again.”

The Bannsiders will have to negotiate a tricky tie against the Crues if they are going to replicate those scenes.

Kearney is wary of Stephen Baxter’s side who, despite not hitting the heights of previous seasons, have found their goal touch of late.

“We always prepare to face the best Crusaders,” he said.

“They are a really dangerous outfit, the other week they went and hit six goals.

“I can’t remember when we last hit five or six goals in a game.

“There are teams there with savage firepower who can really hurt you on their night.

“Only a fool would try and read into form.

“It’s the same for everybody. I’ve told the players we’ve parked the league for a week as we got at the Irish Cup and it will be exactly the same for the Crues I’m sure.”

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