Match Reaction

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Kearney relishing the return of injured duo

ORAN Kearney spoke to the media after watching his side defeat Dungannon Swifts at The Showgrounds…

The Bannsiders secured all three points against the Swifts after a terrific strike from Darren McCauley proved enough to overcome the plucky resistance of Rodney McAree’s men.

“I looked down their list of results this morning and they only really win or lose by a goal,” Kearney said.

“So I had a fair idea today wasn’t going to be free flowing all-attacking football.

“Yes they might not get loads of chances, but at the other end it would be about being patient and trying to break them down.

“It looked like it would take a set piece or a fantastic bit of quality, and so it proved with a real quality strike from Darren.

“When we do that they change tact and throw on three more flair players.

“Rodney said to me afterwards they wanted to stay in the game as long as possible and went with grafters to see if they could stay in it until 60 or 70 minutes.

“But when we got the goal they have to change things earlier so it opens up and it suited us more.

“But they had two good chances which Chris Johns saves well.

“We had four or five chances that with a little bit more care and extra quality we would have got the second and killed the game off.

“So that’s the only bit of frustration I have is we didn’t get that second goal.

“But I said to the boys it’s been a long time since we have had a 1-0 win, but they are good wins to have.

“Going into the closing stages bar the two scares we had we were comfortable, and we saw the game out with everything we have learned over the last couple of years.”

With four matches postponed due to the bad weather conditions, the Bannsiders had the perfect opportunity to earn another three points and extend their lead over three of the chasing pack.

“Yes there was probably gains to be made today,” Kearney added.

“I said to the boys beforehand that with the other games called off we wanted to extend the gap between us and them.

“It’s alright having games in hand but you still need to win them.

“I’m a big advocate of getting the game played and getting the points on board.”

The boss also confirmed that Lyndon Kane and Eoin Bradley have returned to training, but insists both players won’t be rushed back into action.

“Lyndon and Skinner landed back out on the training pitch last Tuesday night and they got a round of applause from everyone,” Kearney continued.

“Lyndon was jogging around with a big grin on his face delighted with himself.

“The only bigger grin was mine as I was delighted to see him back out there.

“There’s no time frame for their return at the minute.

“It’s like the Brad situation where all of a sudden they will be ready.

“With Lyndon he needs to get back into full training, and with the length of time he’s been out he’ll need a Reserve game or two to be fair to him and allow him to find his feet again.

“But the pace of it will be dictated by him.

“Skinner has started rehab, but we have to be careful, he’s probably looking end of December start of January.

“He has a different view than we have but we’ll strike a happy medium and meet him halfway.”

Kearney was also happy with the acquisition of Stephen Dooley and admits the 26-year-old can play numerous positions in attacking areas.

“I’ve tried to make that statement of intent over the last four years,” Kearney acknowledged.

“He has came in and trained with us every November and December with zero pressure.

“I always say to him it’s the least we can do as his hometown club.

“He’s been always made warmly welcome and he knows all the boys.

“But we fully appreciate what he wanted to do in recent years with regards to full time football.

“This year he feels the time is right, he has a degree from his time in America.

“I’m not saying he won’t go back into full time football, but for the time being we’re delighted to have him on board for the next six months with the option of another year.

“A lot of work goes in to every signing, but the ease of negotiations with this deal was so seamless.

“The big thing for me is Coleraine is his hometown club.

“Speaking to Stephen I know what it means to him to play for the club he supported as a boy, and that far outweighs everything else, because when yoiu get that hunger and desire to want to produce for something which means something to you it’s massive.

“He has so much quality and you can see by the reaction of Ciaron Harkin how good a player he is, he was almost getting his autograph book out!

“Stephen can play anywhere in the front six.

“His football education has allowed him to play in a variety of positions.

“This year we have put great emphasis on our front six, but it has nearly been all the same players who have carried that weight.

“To ensure we have the legs to carry us through to the end he will play in a number of positions.”