ORAN Kearney has challenged his players to put their League Cup disappointment behind them and build on the success they’ve achieved already this season.
The Bannsiders suffered cup heartbreak on Saturday as Chris Morrow’s first half strike was enough to take the IRN-BRU League Cup back to Belfast as Kearney’s men failed to produce the form that had sent them on a 13-match unbeaten run.
But with the Irish Cup and a European spot a very real possibility the Ballymoney man is determined to make sure his side keep their focus.
“We’ve still a huge amount to play for this season,” he said.
“Thankfully we’re still in the Irish Cup, which is a big opportunity for us to try and put this result right so to speak, and we’re going well in the league and have to opportunity to push on there.
“No one will be going around thinking it’s the end of the world because we’ve lost this game, there’s still a lot of football to be played and we’re determined to ensure this is a successful season.”
Kearney though was disappointed that his side never produced the goods in front of the TV cameras and a massive Coleraine support.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed with the outcome, but more so with the fact that we didn’t at any stage of the game have a real pop at them,” he said.
“Things we’ve been doing well all season and throughout the cup run, for some reason they just didn’t come off for us.
“Whatever personnel we tried, whatever tactics we tried, whatever formation we tried, we just couldn’t change the game. While that’s partly down to failings on our part, at the same time you have to give credit to Crusaders.
“The first goal was always going to be vital yesterday and when they got it, it changed the context of the game completely and the longer it went on, the more we had to chase it, which left us more open. Just a frustrating day all round.”
The Bannsiders boss though is determined that it won’t be too long before his players will bring some silverware back to their fans, who were out in force at Ballymena Showgrounds.
“There was a fantastic turnout of supporters and I’m sure there were a lot of people there who maybe haven’t been to see Coleraine in a while, and that just adds to the disappointment of it all for me,” he said.
“We didn’t give them enough to shout about on the day, but to their credit, they kept singing all game and even at the end when we went over to applaud them they were very vocal in their support.
“The support they’ve given us all season has been first class and I hope it isn’t too long before we can reward that with a trophy.”
Kearney’s plans to challenge for more honours this season will not include Gareth Tommons or Leon Knight.
Tommons played his last game in Saturday’s final before jetting off to Australia. And controversial striker Knight brought his Coleraine career to a close as he joined Premiership rivals Glentoran.
The little Londoner hasn’t played for the Bannsiders in over a month after a dispute with the club over travel arrangements.
The club told the much travelled Knight that he would have to agree to move back to the North Coast or pay for his own flights after he penned a two-year contract in the summer.
But a stalemate was reached and the club decided it would be better for all parties to part company with the front man and agreed a deal with the managerless Glens over the weekend.
Knight put pen to paper on an 18-month contract on Monday for an undisclosed fee.
Coleraine will be without the services of the duo for the first time tonight (Tuesday) as they entertain league leaders Linfield. Kick-off is 8pm.