Match Reaction

“Work starts now” – OK

COLERAINE boss Oran Kearney insists work will get underway ‘very quickly’ to help the club evolve after last night’s European play-off defeat to Larne…

The Bannsiders would lose out at Inver Park as a goal in each half was enough to send Larne through to the decider against Glentoran on Friday night.

Kearney highlighted on a better second-half performance as well as reflecting on two big chances his side failed to take when they trailed 1-0.

“It is a very difficult result to take,” he told Coleraine TV.

“You expect these games to be cagey affairs and you expect them to particularly in the first-half, to be that way where isn’t much flow to the game.

“It probably looked like that for big parts of the first-half but it’s a header from a set piece which is not directed towards goal but it has hit off the back of Rodney’s head, hit the crossbar and gone in.

“No matter what it puts us 1-0 down and it makes it tough on a night like this.

“We had a right rattle at half-time, we just felt it was passing a few players by, there was nerves and edginess there for some reason and it was a real rattle to be honest with you.

“To be fair, I got a response and I felt second-half we pushed and pushed, we tried everything from a formation point of view to personnel to everything and realistically we’ve created two or three really good chances that would get us back in the game.

“You’ve got to put the ball in the back of the net and sadly we haven’t been able to do that.”

Kearney believes the campaign was a tale of two halves after a bright start was made more difficult from Christmas time onwards.

However, he stated that preparations are already underway for 2022/23.

“For me the season has been ultra disappointing because it’s about a standard,” he added.

“People can say the league is moving on, there’s full-time teams and everything else, but for me, we just have a standard of how far we want to go and where we want to go.

“Up until December time I felt we were moving in the right direction as things were going well.

“Since December, January time it has really huffed and puffed with a League Cup defeat and the manner of it stuck in the middle of it as well.

“It’s been a disappointing second-half of the season and one that a lot of people around the club; players, fans, Board, everybody probably hasn’t been used to.

“It’s not something we want to get used to either so as the dust settles on this one, we very quickly start to plan for the next one.

“That will literally start next week and it’s already been in motion where we’ve made a big look at how we can evolve and how we can maximise even more to try and stay on the tails of the full-time teams and everything else.”

With no European football this summer, Kearney hopes that the extended break – whilst not what he wanted – can give the players a springboard heading into the new Danske Bank Premiership campaign.

“We’ve a lot of work to do on and off the pitch in relation to that and that will start very quickly,” he stated.

“We probably haven’t done a proper pre-season for two or three years because of Europe and everything else.

“I would love to be in the scenario where we are not doing a proper pre-season this year and I make no bones about that because I’d far rather be doing the Europe side of it.

“It is that moment of reset, it is that moment where we look at things from a big picture more than anything else and make sure we go the extra mile so we can push next year.”