COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney answered a series of questions after watching side come from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Linfield…
Goals from Achille Campion and Kurtis Byrne had the Blues rightfully ahead at the break, but a deadly double from Darren McCauley ensured the title race will go down to the last day of the season.
IS THIS AN OPPORTUNITY MISSED?
“To be fair to Linfield they were very good in the first half.
“As much as we weren’t at the races I have to give them credit and say a lot of that was down to them flexing their muscles and showing what they had.
“The pitch is strange, it’s so hard and solid.
“We struggled to get the ball down, we couldn’t get our foot on it, the ball spent a lot of time in the air.
“It suited them more as they had four centre halves on the pitch, it gave them a huge amount of physicality and strength aerially.
“The longer it went on with us being unable to get control of the ball they gathered more momentum and we didn’t.
“Their two strikers were given our centre halves their fill of it, and to be honest I felt our two strikers had done the opposite.
“It was too easy, they were smoking cigars at the back.
“At that stage, if it hadn’t been for Chris Johns, we would have been sitting here and the league would have been over.
“He pulled off three or four fantastic saves, one double save in particular where he put his hands and head where most players wouldn’t put anything else.”
WHAT DID YOU SAY AT HALF TIME?
“I ranted and I raved and I gave my four barrels and everything else that went with it.
“It was more just out of frustration. The journey we have been on, and the games we have turned around to get three points.
“Against Dungannon, Skinner scored the winner with ten minutes to go.
“The first game of the season at Stangmore we were down to ten men and again we got the three points, away to Cliftonville, home to Cliftonville we picked up the points.
“We have fought so hard and put so much endeavour, attitude and intensity into this to go out and put in a 45 minutes like that was utterly frustrating.
“I did spill my guts at half time, but as I say it was out of frustration, but I could sense the frustration in the players as well.”
WHEN YOU SCORED DID YOU FEEL YOU COULD GET SOMETHING FROM THE GAME?
“When the first goal went in I felt we were going to get something out of it.
“We had hung in there for that long, and the fans had been that loud, you’re always dying for that wee momentum shift and change.
“We stifled the first 15 minutes well, I said to them that we didn’t have to score two minutes into the second half or all square after an hour.
“There had to be a mentality were we could score with ten or fifteen minutes to go.
“Yes we got two quickfire goals, but it was testament to us that we were still in the game at that stage, that gave us a platform to go on and do that.”
DARREN’S COMPOSURE FOR TWO GOALS
“I thought Darren showed great composure for both goals.
“Jamie is our penalty taker at the minute, but he had been taken off, Ian had won the penalty, and because of the adrenaline he wanted it.
“I have never seen Ian hit one before, Darren to be fair to him has hit three or four good penalties this season and was unlucky with the one that was saved.
“I told Stevie O’Donnell to tell Darren to hit the penalty because I felt the magnitude and responsibility of it I thought we needed to go with someone with experience.
“He showed his quality again with the second.
“One touch finishes are easy because you have actually scored the goal before you even realise it has hit the net.
“With that one there he had three or four touches before he can shoot, and those are the ones which kill players.
“That’s why that finish was absolutely top drawer.”
DID YOU KNOW THE SCORE IN THE CRUES GAME?
“I said to Winkie I wanted to know the score at half time.
“You normally know by the fans and everything else how the game is going, but I wanted to have an understanding of where it was at.
“I don’t think you’re doing your job if you don’t know the score in the other game.
“We wondered if we would take a rick on Brad today, the score could have dictated whether or not we needed to do that.
“I don’t think Brad would have been fit enough for us to go and chase the game like we were doing, but possibly if we needed to hold on we might have used him.
“I’m glad to give him another week’s recovery.”
NOTHING HAS CHANGED IN THE TITLE RACE
“Yes it was a poor first half, but we keep sending out the message that we’re not going away.
“My big fear is with ten or fifteen minutes to go the game would peter out.
“Credit to our lads, there have been some monumental efforts to do that.
“It’s testament to us as a club and a group of players that we are where we are.
“If you had said to me at the first game of the season that we would be going into the last game of the season all square at the top I would have probably have thought you needed medication.
“It’s win win for us. As much as the first half today was poor, it’s banked now.
“The buzz of being involved in this and the pressure they’re under is brilliant.
“It’s one which can only be beneficial for them as players and people down the line.”