Match Reaction

Kearney credits Crusaders for title success

COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney addressed the media after his side were held to a 0-0 draw against Glenavon at Mourneview Park…

The Bannsiders knew three points were a must if they were to clinch a first Gibson Cup title since 1974, but came up short as Crusaders defeated Ballymena United to lift the trophy.

Speaking after the game, Kearney congratulated Stephen Baxter’s side for their triumph but believes things might have played out differently if his side had taken the lead.

“It is only natural to be disappointed,” Kearney said.

“There’s a probably a few what ifs, particularly when both games are 0-0, Darren’s one which clips the bar, Tuffey’s save from Ian Parkhill, those are two moments that if we draw blood first, you’re not sure what impact it would have on the other game.

“When the crowd roar and you understand that Ballymena are ahead, it would have been nice if we could have capitalised on a couple of half sniffs and take the lead.

“There’s a huge amount of what ifs, but the most clear cut thing before a ball was kicked that if Crusaders won their game it was out of our hands.

“Crusaders have won their game so they are champions and I want to congratulate them on that.

“They brought the best out of us and we brought the best out of them. It’s a credit to both clubs about how they’ve gone about their business.

“The league table doesn’t lie and credit to Crusaders as when their chips were down, they have produced the goods to get them over the line.”

Kearney admits the players can be proud of their efforts, but insists the hurt from missing out on league honours must be a driving factor for this weekend’s Irish Cup final against Cliftonville.

“We are hugely proud and it has been a fantastic season.

“There have been so many plus points and performances, with the last six weeks all being cup finals.

“I think how the players have represented the club they can all be proud of what they’ve achieved and pushing so hard.

“I’m sure the lads will be disappointed as there has been a huge amount of emotion thrown into today’s match.

“We will let that clear over the weekend, we didn’t do a huge amount of talking after the game and we will meet up on Tuesday night and will look ahead then.

“We have to accept what has happened over the weekend to move on straight away.

The boss was quick to heap praise on the vocal travelling support which he described as being ‘terrific’ all season long.

“Our support today was terrific and has been all season long,” Kearney concluded.

“The numbers have nearly doubled and the noise they had made, especially away from home, has been brilliant.

“It would have been nice in the first-half if a couple of those chances had of dropped in, but those are the fine margins.”