Kearney delighted as his Bannsiders learn the ‘Ard way on road to victory

Coleraine Howard Beverland and Michael Doherty  and  Lyndon Kane  celebrates winning a  penalty shoot-out  against  Ballinamallard United during Saturday's Tennents Irish Cup 5th Round match at the Showgrounds.'Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
Coleraine Howard Beverland and Michael Doherty and Lyndon Kane celebrates winning a penalty shoot-out against Ballinamallard United during Saturday's Tennents Irish Cup 5th Round match at the Showgrounds.'Picture by Brian Little/Presseye
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The recent League Cup semi final defeat to Ards was very hard to take for everyone connected with Coleraine Football Club.

Having a 2-0 lead wiped out before eventually losing to the Championship one side on penalties left everyone at the Showgrounds stunned.

But speaking in the aftermath of that game boss Oran Kearney was determined to use it as a lesson for the future.

And just a few weeks later that lesson came to fruition.

On Saturday Coleraine looked dead and buried as they trailed Ballinamallard United 2-0 at half time.

A bright start to the game fizzled out after the visitors took the lead thanks to Ryan Campbell against the run of play.

Adam Lecky’s strike to double the lead on 33 minutes seemed to condemn the home side to yet more cup heartache.

But a revitalised Bannsiders took to the field for the second half.

However that elusive goal just didn’t seem like coming.

With five minutes to go it looked as though the writing was on the wall. That was until Steven Douglas stepped up.

The veteran defender proved the unlikely catalyst for Kearney’s men, firing a well-placed shot plast Alvin Rouse.

Minutes later Ruairi Harkin completed the comeback with a thunder bolt to send the home support into raptures.

With no further goals it was on to the dreaded penalty shoot-out.

The Bannsiders held their nerve and slotted home emphatically as the shell shocked Malalrds faltered, much to the delight of Kearney.

“I spoke about the Ards penalty shoot-out at half time and I have spoke about it a number of times since that game,” he told Times Sport.

“I told the players what happened that night would do one of two things to them.

“It would either make them and they will kick on in their career if they use it as fuel for the fire, or it would break them and they will hold it in a bad place for a long time.

“As I say I spoke about it today going into extra time and before the penalty shoot-out.

“Sadistically I nearly wanted the penalty shoot-out as the game was drawing to a close in extra time to banish those demons and to show how far the players have come.

“You look at the penalties as well, Ruairi Harkin has missed his last couple of penalties and yet he’s straight in putting his hand up wanting to hit one, and what a penalty it was.

“Young Lyndon at 18 just strokes his home again, that’s his third this season and it’s three of the calmest penalties you’ll see. You would think he’s 32 not 18.

“Football is physical, but it’s as much mental strength as well, and I thought our mentality today throughout the pitch was fantastic.”

Mallards boss Whitey Anderson watched on in disbelief as his players capitulated.

“Fair play to Coleraine I wish them all the best in the next round, they have a lot of young players in there, a lot of energy and pace about them, which helps in this league,” he said.

“You can see why they’ve had such a good season so far. “They dug in and kept going right until the very end.