Match Reaction

Stars of the Future

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney hailed the performances of Lewis Tosh and Kirk McLaughlin as both players made their first league starts for the club last night…

Tosh set up an assist for the second goal of the evening as his diagonal ball was headed into the net by Curtis Allen, before McLaughlin would get on the act he delightfully lobbed the ball over the advancing Conor Mitchell.

The 5-2 success also marked a return to winning ways for the Bannsiders and Kearney was pleased to be able to give more minutes to several members of his squad.

“We are obviously pleased to get back to winning ways as we’ve gone a few games without a victory,” he told Coleraine TV.

“It’s been a tough few weeks in relation to the Cup final defeat and we have been missing a few players through injury and suspension.

“However, with that, brings opportunity and it’s rare probably at this level to give an opportunity of putting players into that pressure scenario and see what they can do.

“I was delighted for Kirk and Lewis who came in, they deserved their chance as they’ve done really well with the U20’s, and whilst we know the step up is high, it’s important to try and give them that chance.

“I thought both of them acquitted themselves really well.

“It’s not an easy place to come to on a Tuesday night as Warrenpoint are fighting for their lives, but I thought how the two of them got about their business was really good.

“Lewis had a brilliant assist for Curtis’ goal and Kirk shows real maturity in his top class finish.

“I’m delighted for the two of them, it’s a start, they’ll be the first to tell you there’s a long way to go but it’s great for them to get out there and show what they can do.”

The Stripes knew that a solitary point would mathematically secure their top six credentials heading into the post-split fixtures and Kearney remarked that the next four or five weeks will simply be about game management.

“I think we knew coming into it we were pretty much done from that point of view,” he conceded.

“The key thing as we’ve already said is about those play-offs at the end of the year.

“We’ve a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of football this year and need a short break, whilst there are some guys who need some football as well.

“We’ve got to use these next few weeks wisely to try and look after everybody so we are going into those games as fresh as possible.”

Kearney voiced his appreciation at a good number of travelling supporters who made the lengthy journey to Milltown as Coleraine host Glenavon this Saturday.

“I think it’s been four or five games away from home on the bounce,” he continued.

“We’ve been on our travels quite a bit so it’ll be nice to get back at The Showgrounds on Saturday.

“Hopefully we can get another crowd out and a good performance.

“I’d like to thank everyone who attended tonight, it was an amazing crowd for a Tuesday night and it shows you the commitment of the supporters.

“I think it was very important from our point of view, and I mentioned it pre-game, that when people travel that distance it’s important that we give them something to go home with.”