It may not have been the result he would have wanted but in the end Oran Kearney was happy enough to take a point in the League opener.
Davy McDaid struck with seven minutes to go, with what would prove to be a goodbye goal, to earn the Bannsiders a share of the spoils against Ballinamallard United.
McDaid could have won it at the death but he was denied by Mallards keeper Fearghal Murphy leaving Kearney philosophical at the end.
“I have to say we’re happy with a point I suppose when you’re 1-0 down with 20 minutes to go,” he told Times Sport after the game.
“There’s always an air of anxiety in the opening game, everyone wants to get off the mark and nobody wants to be sitting in the table with zero points.
“To get our goal and maybe have the chance to nick it right at the end you maybe look at it and think you should have won it, but overall I can’t really complain about a point for our efforts.
“I was disappointed to go in 1-0 down at the break. There wasn’t a lot in the first half but we were undone by a diagonal set piece. Both our centre halves tried to jump with their striker, he got the flick on and Adam Mullan switched off a wee bit at right back alowing the guy to nip in front of him.
“ It was disappointing to concede like that, but as I said to the guys in the changing rooms there, the key thing for me was how we responded. Last season we maybe wouldn’t have had the character to have dealt with that situatiuon and maybe would have went on to lose the game.
“I thought we managed things well in the second half. It maybe took us 15 minutes or so to get up and going again, the key things were we didn’t concede, we were nice and compact.
“When we did get a grip of the game in the last half hour we got our goal and maybe could have won it at the end.
“It was a great goal too, it was a joy to watch and it was nearly identical for the second chance moments later. Neil has that in his locker, he picked out a great run by Davy and he produced a great finish.
“Davy is disappointed he didn’t win us the game. A player of his calibre normally slots those away for fun. I think he went with the oiutside of the foot when maybe an effort with the inside would have ot him his goal.”
The highly promising Adam Mullan started at right back and there was two more teenagers on the bench as Kearney pledged to give the young players their chance.
“We are always looking to give youth a chance but it’s the first time since I’ve been here we are finally in the position that we have good strong young players coming through,” he said.
“We’re delighted with the work Johnny Law and everyone has doen behind the scenes. We are now at a position were I’m confident of having two or three young lads on the bench.
“I knew today that if I needed to throw them on they would be able to do a job for us.
“In times like this when budgets are tight it’s great to have a few young lads breaking through, and for me it’s also great for the identity of the club.”
The Bannsiders will certainly need all the squad this season with games coming thick and fast.
Theymake their way to Drumahoe on Wednesday night to take on Institute before hosting Linfield on Saturday.
Kearney though is relishing the challenge being put in front of him.
“Pre season is all about getting as fit as possible so we can cope with the rigours of the games coming thick and fast,” said Kearney.
“Any team in this league, and we say it year in, year out, will absolutely give you a game.
“I know Paul Kee very well and I know the players he has brought in.
“I’m sure he’ll be trying to play it down and that they will just be trying to enjoy the season, but knowing Paul like I do he’ll have his side bang up for every game and Institute will be a very tough place to go to.
“There’s a little bit of added spice with it being a north west derby. It’s great for the area more than anything else.
“It’s nice to see the country teams like ourselves, Ballinamallard, Ballymena and Institute in there now too so that the league is coming out of the city a bit.
“Obviously there’s a new man at the helm of Linfield now in the shape of Warren Feeney.
“It will be a new experience this season for Warren and us all as he is replacing David Jeffrey.
“But I’m sure it will still be a familiar Linfield we will all be facing.
“All I am focusing on at the minute though is our next game and that is against Institute.
“The other games will all take care of themselves when they come along.”
Meanwhile, the Garvagh, Kilrea and District SC are running a bus to Institute this Wednesday evening.
It will leave Rugby Avenue, Coleraine at 6pm, Kilrea at 6,30pm and Garvagh at 6.40pm.