COLERAINE manager Oran Kearney believes that Adam Mullan and Aaron Canning are showing all the credentials to be labelled as one of the best centre-back pairings in the Danske Bank Premiership…
The Limavady duo picked up the Man of the Match awards from Holley Optometrists and Sky Sports as the Bannsiders picked up an important three points against Cliftonville.
In a low-key affair at The Showgrounds, the match winner would arrive on 72 minutes as a cross/shot from Alexander Gawne looped over Richard Brush and into the net.
“We knew coming into the game that we were down a couple of bodies, as well as Skinner who is our focal point and that made it tough,” he said.
“We knew it was going to be scrap and we didn’t think it was going to be the prettiest game ever.
“I suppose the key thing is that you hope you can get that clean sheet and we managed to keep it shut against a side with a lot of firepower and you’re hoping for that wee bit of magic at the other end which we got.
“They are both top class and I think they are right up there with the best that’s about in the league at this moment in time.
“The two of them started as full-backs but I’ve always told them that they’ll end up at centre-half and they are starting to come of age.
“I thought they were exceptional against a talented Cliftonville front line.
“It’s a crazy one as you know the minute it leaves his foot it’s going in.
“We said it at half-time to the boys that number one keep a clean but number two don’t be afraid to try a different run, do something off the cuff or take someone on in the final third.
“You just look for that bit of luck or magic that can break the deadlock.
“It wasn’t one for the purest or one that will live long in the memory, but for us, it’s a hugely important three points.”
The win means that the Bannsiders are three points off the top of the table in one of the most exciting title races in history, but there could be a blow with Ben Doherty and Josh Carson both carrying knocks.
“You don’t gain on anybody unless you pick up your own three points,” he continued.
“It’s okay the results happening last Saturday but all we can do is look after ourselves.
“It’s so important to get those three points and remain up in there.
“It’s a sad one for Ben because he’s been flying and going really well.
“I think it’s a twinge of the hamstring again by the look of things.
“He has played a lot of games this season and Josh is the same and I don’t know how he got through 75 minutes because he was literally was wheeled out there so full credit to him.”
The transfer window closes this Friday and Kearney would like to add to his squad if possible.
“I would love to do more business and get one more in if possible,” he concluded.
“You’re also wary of players being cup tied for Irish Cup games and stuff like that.
“Our league is very top heavy were you play two thirds of the games by now and there’s only 11 games left and then the Cup competitions.
“The size of squad we have now will cope with that but it would be nice to freshen it in some way.”