Match Reaction

Kearney hails McCauley’s consistency

COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney spoke to the media after watching his side claim a 1-0 win over derby rivals Ballymena United at The Showgrounds…

After a goalless first-half in which the Stripes dominated, the breakthrough was finally made on 56 minutes when Darren McCauley fired home his 17th goal of the season.

Before the game, Kearney explained he knew how difficult the game would be, but was critical of his side’s finishing in front of goal.

“I don’t read many papers, but I was led to believe that Davy had mentioned that Ballymena had bigger fish to fry,” Kearney said.

“I made sure in the opening line of my team talk that any player who had read that to not buy it one bit.

“We fully understood how tough the match was going to be and it was exactly that.

“From watching the highlights back, we were wasteful in front of goal. We have dominated large spells in the game, we have five or six good chances in the first-half and the same in the second-half, and we probably score our hardest chance through Darren.

“The wasteful side of things probably is the most disappointing aspect as if we had taken those opportunities then Josh doesn’t need to make the tackle towards the end.”

The Bannsiders had to finish the contest with 10 men after the dismissal of Josh Carson and Kearney admits things aren’t looking good ahead of next month’s Tennent’s Irish Cup final against Cliftonville.

“I can see what he is trying to do, breaking up the play and taking an intelligent yellow card. Ideally if we had taken our chances then he wouldn’t be in that position to make that tackle,” Kearney added.

“He is disappointed and has hurt his leg whatever way he has caught him.

“We will have to see what the suspension will be. He will miss next weekend and a subsequent ban is up to the referee’s report.

“It’s looking more negative than positive at the minute.”

Kearney was quick to heap praise on McCauley for his speculative effort and has praised the former Institute player for his high level of consistency this season.

“It was a great strike from a big game player,” Kearney continued/

“We urged it at half-time and it was the same last week, the first goals in these games are always important.

“The war cry coming out at half-time was who was going to score the goal, be the hero and the game changer?

“I thought Stephen Dooley was excellent in the second-half as was Darren with that finish.

“We have all watched Darren over the years and the one criticism you could have given him was his consistency.

“This year with a 17 goal haul and his level of performances he has been fantastic.”

The victory meant the Bannsiders went the entire season unbeaten at The Showgrounds and Kearney was thrilled with that statistic.

“I was aware of that fact, but wasn’t if you know what I mean,” Kearney concluded.

“It’s one of those ones which passes you by until you’re reminded of it.

“At times at this club we lament the geography side of things in terms of bringing in players from down the country.

“But we also have to turn that into our advantage, in terms of teams getting here and that sub conscious thought in that they’ll say ‘we are for the Coleraine Showgrounds and they are good at home’.”