COLERAINE manager Rodney McAree hailed his side’s professionalism as they booked their spot in the quarter-final of the Tennent’s Irish Cup…
First-half goals from Ben Doherty and James McLaughlin had the Bannsiders well on their way, before Dean Shiels marked his debut with a strike to seal the holders through to the next round against Larne.
Speaking after the game, McAree was full of praise for his players’ efforts and was delighted to register a clean sheet.
“I thought we were very professional,” he said.
“In actual fact I thought we were better in this round against Dergview than we were against the Welders in the last round.
“We have won both games and that’s all that matters in cup football.
“But I thought today it was great that we got a clean sheet, our defensive shape without the ball was much better than it has been in recent weeks and I felt there were good performances throughout.
“It was great to get the two new lads signed this week some game time and they done extremely well.
“On another day we might have scored a few more goals but we are extremely pleased to win 3-0.”
Ben Doherty registered his second goal in Coleraine colours after arriving during the January transfer window and McAree admits he is delighted to see contributions coming from all areas of the pitch.
“The more areas we can get goals coming from the better,” he added.
“James McLaughlin is back amongst the goals again which he is always going to be.
“I thought Ben Doherty done well and Mark Edgar was exceptional.
“I thought Dean Shiels done very well when he came on.
“When the game started to open up and the pitch got that little bit bigger, Dean was the ideal man to bring on.
“He was always going to control the game and get spaces for himself.
“It was nice to get a goal from Ben early doors as it settles everyone down.”
There is now a strong competition for places as seven new players made the switch to The Showgrounds last month, with Stephen O’Donnell also returning to the fold.
“I think when I started we had 12 or 13 players that you could realistically call upon,” he concluded.
“I think it’s fantastic now that we have a bigger squad and if you count everybody, we probably have too many players if I’m being honest.
“We have 22 fit players to select from between now and the end of the season and I think that’s the numbers we need to kick on in the second half of the season.
“It was brilliant to see Stephen back.
“The game panned itself out in the way you wanted it to in terms of having substitutions in your head that you would like to make.
“It was nice to see Stevie coming on as I think the changing room and the pitch have missed his leadership and hopefully we can add to his minute as he goes along.
“We have a bit of a selection headache as we have Josh Carson, Cormac Burke and Dylan Davidson back available on Tuesday night.
“At the end of the day that’s what you want and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Burnsy trained on Thursday night and will return soon, but Alex will be another six weeks.”