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Match Reaction

‘Players are ready to roll’ – OK

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney spoke to the media after the Bannsiders’ pre-season defeat to Annagh United…

The Stripes had led via Jamie Glackin’s finish but trailed at the break as Thomas Stewart and Craig Taylor gave the visitors the advantage. After a raft of substitutions for the second-half, Coleraine equalised from the spot through Ben Doherty but a defensive mistake proved costly as Stewart fired home his second of the game.

Despite losing out against their Championship opponents, Kearney is hopeful that the outing will bring his players back up to speed following their European exploits.

“It was pretty much what I expected to be honest with you and I could have predicted today,” he said.

“I probably haven’t made it easy for the players either with how we fielded today.

“If I’m being honest, what we learned from the Maribor game was the length of time it took people to recover and the risk of injury and everything else.

“Today was, and it’s crazy to say it, because Motherwell have played a couple of games since and play again on Sunday, but that’s the difference between full-time and part-time, the ability to go again.

“We had guys there up to Thursday night who weren’t too bad.

“Today, for want of a better expression, was a cool down or the final part of recovery and I said that to the boys pre-game.

“There were guys we wanted to get 90 minutes into and others 45 to get their legs back up and running again with a view to being back in business come Tuesday.

“To be fair, first half I thought we were decent and then just a couple of moments of madness which were just crazy which is fine, as that’s how people learn.

“The second half, and it’s always the way with these games, and it’s the short straw, the group that have to warm up and start the second half.

“It’s false and we don’t do it in the league and everything else.

“There were different partnerships and people playing out of position and it was one of those exercises to get people game time – a means to an end so to speak.

“Thankfully, everybody’s through it, Glacks came off but that was maybe a lack of sugar or dehydration more than anything, it wasn’t anything physical.

“What we’ve learned from the European games is that the hangover or the aftermath, you try and get out of the system as quickly as possible

“Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to let it take its course, but ideally, now, we hope that that’s us ready to roll.”

The Bannsiders are scheduled to commence their Danske Bank Premiership campaign against Ballymena United on October 17, but Kearney isn’t in favour of starting with a limited number of spectators in attendance.

“Starting on October 17 is not ideal for us to be honest with you and purely because it’s a derby match for us at home which we’ll lose a fortune on,” he added.

“Probably from a board or a finance point of view we’d rather have that fixture in March or April time when things are maybe better but beggars can’t be choosers.

“From a financial point of view it’s worrying despite people saying, ‘you’re alright, you got a decent rattle in Europe.’

“But we want to park that money and we’ve a good idea where we’d like that money to go.

“The key thing is that we don’t eat into that money.

“In saying that, in two or three Saturdays time when we play that game, there’ll only be a couple of hundred at it, compared to a couple of thousand and the revenue and the bar and everything else.

“It’s not sustainable and that’s it in black and white.

“At this point in time, something has to give, but I don’t know how – whether it is government or IFA.

“At the moment its two wrongs coming to meet at a point where you’re going this isn’t working or it’s not right.

“One week you can get away with that, or one game you can cope, but if it’s going to look like that every week moving forward – not just our club but every club – is going to be decimated.

For me, there has to be something that comes in from way above in terms of bridging this or closing the gap.”

Kearney revealed that striker Eoin Bradley has been hit with a six-match ban ahead of Tuesday night’s North-West Cup tie against Portstewart.

“The timing of this year’s competition helps,” he concluded.

“It will be competitive as I’m sure Portstewart will come here and be up for it.

“For us it will count as competitive games and Skinner has a six game ban to fulfill and ideally for us, we want to get through to the next round.

“If we can go a couple of rounds in it and get to the final – it would kill three games of his ban.

“It will also do no harm as people need minutes as well.”