COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney was happy to see his side progress through to the quarter-final of the Tennent’s Irish Cup…
The Bannsiders put in a professional performance and were comprehensive winners via goals from Jamie McGonigle (2), Eoin Bradley and an own goal – much to Kearney’s satisfaction.
“Our performance and result was exactly what you want at this stage of the competition,” Kearney said.
“It was a big banana skin avoided because Institute are flying and I told the players pre-game to give them respect as there are some big sides in the Championship.
“Credit to our lads for the high tempo they set in the first 20 minutes as it was great to get the goals and finish the job early.”
The home side got off to the perfect start when Jamie McGonigle fired home after four minutes and Kearney pointed to the Dungiven man’s composure in front of goal.
“It was a good switch of play and Lyndon drives into space and the timing of the pass and Jamie’s run was brilliant as well,” Kearney added.
“When Jamie gets into that position there is only going to be one outcome.
“We’ve seen that too many times in the last few years to expect him to miss those chances.
“It was a great finish and got us off to a great start.”
Kearney was quick to heap praise on Eoin Bradley for his contribution and believes the Bannsiders will get to see the best out of ‘Skinner’ as we enter the business end of the season.
“I think there’s been grumblings and people frustrated with Eoin, but he came back from a five month injury in three months and that for me speaks volumes about him as a player and the appetite he has,” Kearney continued.
“With that, we knew at 33-years-old that it would take him a little bit of time to get back up to speed.
“He was the opposite to Jamie as we wanted to get him off the pitch as he’s played a huge amount of football this year, but with Skinner we wanted to get another 90 minutes under his belt to strengthen him up.
“It’s been a big week for him, with every game he plays, he looks back to his best and it’s important to try and keep that going.
“It was a great finish and he has that in the locker.”
The Stripes will hope to have injured trio Stephen Dooley, Brad Lyons and Aaron Burns back into the squad as soon as possible.
“We are finally in a position where we have that little bit of depth,” Kearney acknowledged.
“I think it showed on Tuesday night that we didn’t have the forward players to bring off the bench.
“Possibly with 15 minutes to go if I could bring Stephen Dooley and Brad Lyons on, then we probably see the rest of the game out in Linfield’s half.
“It’s so important to have freshness as it’s been the same group of players who have pretty much carried us this week, so it’s important we get these guys back to ease the burden.”