COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney paid tribute to his players after their Irish Cup Fifth Round success against Lisburn Distillery at The Showgrounds…
Goals from Gareth McConaghie, Stephen Dooley, Jamie McGonigle, Martin Smith, Ian Parkhill and a brace from Matthew Kirk sealed a comfortable 7-0 victory against the Premier Intermediate side.
“When I look back to last year’s Irish Cup I don’t even really remember the fifth or sixth round games on our way to the final,” Kearney said.
“Those games are very much about getting the job done and moving on.
“We said to the boys before the game that, no disrespect to Lisburn Distillery, it was about how we approached the game today.
“If we came with the right attitude, the right energy, the right work rate, and all the things we bring every week, then we should be fine.
“The early goal helped us and thankfully it turned out to be a smooth day for us.”
With the Bannsiders leading 5-0 with an hour played, Kearney was delighted to give striker Jamie McGonigle a rest with the Dungiven man playing a lot of minutes in the first half of the season.
“Ideally what you want is an early goal and to kill the game off as early as possible,” Kearney added.
“It’s very rare on a Saturday that the game is over by half time so it was nice to be able to roll the bench a bit today.
“I was tempted to bring Jamie McGonigle off at half time because he has played a lot of football this season.
“But Jamie wants to stay on the pitch and score goals so we agreed a happy medium and let him stay on until the 60 minute mark.
“We were trying to give a rest to the guys who have played a lot of football so far so they can charge the batteries up for the second half of the season.”
Kearney was also quick to heap praise on teenage midfielder Matthew Kirk who helped himself to two well taken goals after coming on as a substitute.
“We signed Matthew in the summer and with the successes of everyone else and how well we have been doing his chances have been limited,” Kearney continued.
“We know about his quality and it was nice to get him out there today to show the fans what he can do.
“I thought his overall play, not just his finishes, showed a lot of class.”
The fixture provided a third debut for Stephen Dooley and Kearney revealed the former Cork City winger ‘oozed class’ throughout the game.
“The best way to describe Stephen’s performance was that he looked like he enjoyed himself,” Kearney said.
“His celebration when he scored showed exactly what it means for him to be back playing in the colours of his home town club.
“It’s great he got off the mark nice and early, but his overall performance oozed class today.”
With the Bannsiders turning their attentions to next weekend’s clash against Dungannon Swifts, Kearney was delighted to give a rest to Ciaron Harkin and Stephen O’Donnell.
“We rested Ciaron Harkin and Stephen O’Donnell against Lisburn Distillery and thankfully we have the depth in the squad to be able to do that,” Kearney acknowledged.
“I was concerned that it has been the same guys who have played a lot of football this year.
“Ciaron made his debut around this time last year and I don’t think he has missed too many games.
“With that it’s important to get a wee rest into people, not just for the legs but for the mind as well to try and freshen them up.
“It’s nice to be able to do that and it leaves us in good shape for next week.”