Match Reaction

OK delighted with rescue mission

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney praised his side for their willingness to not give up the chase as they battled to a 1-1 draw against Larne at The Showgrounds…

The Bannsiders looked like their efforts would leave empty handed as Ben Doherty hit the opener on 71 minutes, but the Stripes would earn a share of the spoils at the death as Matthew Shevlin was on hand to tap home a rebound after Josh Carson’s strike was parried by Conor Devlin.

Speaking to Coleraine TV after the fixture, Kearney hopes that the elation of the late goal will be a shot in the arm for his players for upcoming assignments.

“It was a bit crazy,” said Kearney.

“Big credit to the players for keeping going because you’ve probably every right at that stage, particularly when they’ve just hit the post ten seconds earlier, to feel that you’re running out of time and it’s not going to happen.

“We kept going and we kept going and we work it really well into an area where Josh gets a shot off and all credit to Matthew as people will say it’s only a tap-in but you’ve got to follow that in.

“It’s nice to get a late goal like that in a week like this.

“We had a couple of chances before that which were frustrating as we came really close and you think ‘here we go again’ and it’s just going to be one of those where it just doesn’t quite happen for us.

“But as I say, we keep going and going and I can’t remember how the ball ends up in there but I think it lands at PK at the edge of the box and it’s a lovely set for Josh because he doesn’t break stride into the strike which is really important, then it is all down to Matthew for following it in.”

The Bannsiders made four changes to their starting line-up for the contest with Kearney stating the importance of keeping everyone fresh ahead of a busy run of fixtures across three competitions.

“It’s been well documented the week that we’ve got and even the couple of weeks that we’ve got,” he added.

“It’s very busy in the way the fixtures have seemed to gather and with so many important games coming, we have got to try and move it around, share that workload to keep people as fresh as we possible.

“Tonight was really important, we’ve a big game Friday, we’ve a big game next Tuesday and we’ve a big game the following Sunday, so it’s about trying to make sure that we can be a force in all of those games and trying to keep players as fresh as possible.

“To be fair, I thought the two that started found it tough tonight and sometimes it can be tougher starting and the two that came on I thought gave us a lift, something different and caused problems.”

The Stripes are next in action on Friday night as they face Cliftonville in the quarter-final of the Irish Cup and Kearney questioned why his side were in action this week and not their opponents.

“It’s a game that needs no build-up,” he continued.

“It has to be said it’s crazy how we landed this fixture in the middle of it and I’ve no problem saying it.

“The Irish Cup as a competition over the years always had three weeks in the season when things were built around it to try and build the credit that the competition deserves.

“How we’ve landed with a fixture like this and our opposition don’t do a fixture like this makes it quite an unfair start to an entrance of such a big game.

“However, we’ve played plenty of games where we’ve had three games in six days or whatever else and this is just another phase of it.

“We’ve got to now recharge the batteries and make sure we’re ready for Friday.

“A vocal support is really important to get behind the lads and urge them on.

“Hopefully we’ll fill that away stand and we’ll have a good following support on Friday night.”