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McKendry pays tribute to Kearney

INTERIM boss Trevor McKendry spoke to after the Bannsiders secured their passage through to the next round of the Irn-Bru Challenge Cup…

After both sides missed their opening two penalties, decisive spot kicks by Gareth McConaghie and Eoin Bradley ensured that the Stripes will be in the hat for Tuesday’s third round draw.

Speaking after overcoming a dogged Formartine United, McKendry was just delighted to get through after a somewhat understandable ‘lacklustre’ performance by the home side.

“I said to the boys at the end the 90 minutes was forgettable but we had to focus on the penalties and get the job done,” Trevor said.

“We made it very hard missing the first two but we’re through, that’s probably one of the plus points, there wasn’t too many, it was a very lacklustre display.

“It could have been a bit of a hangover from the news.

“We wanted to be as professional as we could, but it’s very hard given the news.

“I think with the squad being so young they did find it difficult given what’s happened.

“We talked to them before the game and the board let them know what is happening but I think they struggled with it a bit.

“They started off well, we moved the ball really well, but we maybe become a wee bit comfortable and it just become a bit of a chore.

“They defended resolutely, they came with a game plan, got men behind the ball.

“When we moved the ball quickly we created chances, but when we took the extra touches it was difficult to break them down.”

Trevor paid tribute to outgoing boss Oran Kearney as the two have worked together for numerous years at both Limavady United and Coleraine. He also believes the Board have a massive job on their hands to replace the new St Mirren manager.

“I was very lucky Oran took me with him to Limavady,” Trevor added.

“I’ve been around the game a long time, but some of the things I’ve learned from Oran over the years have been unbelievable.

“Inside the first six months of working with him I could see he was different class.

“He’s absolutely made for this. I’ve told him that many times when there were late night phone calls with him thinking he had maybe taken it as far as he could.

“He kept going and turned things around, I just can’t speak highly enough about him.

“His coaching is fantastic, but his main point is his man-management.

“Whoever comes in those are massive shoes to fill.

“The key is we have to build on the job Oran has done here.

“There’s a great foundation here, it has taken us a while to get that, but everything is in place now.”

McKendry insists that the club will go on and the players will have to continue the job at hand as they face Ards next weekend in the Danske Bank Premiership.

“Losing a player like Brad Lyons and then losing the figurehead of Oran Kearney is going to have a massive impact on any club,” he concluded.

“But there’s enough experience and guile in that changing room, yes they will need guidance.

“The club will go on there’s no doubt about it.

“We said to the boys before the game their professional footballers, they’re being paid to do a job and we have to do that job.

“Tonight was about saying goodbye to the best manager I ever worked with.

“It has been emotional because Oran had such a bond with the group of players.

“The board has a big job on their hands, the new manager has to be top notch.”