It’s going to be a real fight to the finish says Oran Kearney

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney.   Photo Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Photo Desmond Loughery/Pacemaker Press

Like many Oran Kearney is predicting the most open fight for the Danske Bank Premiership in years this season.

The Bannsiders showed their qualities last weekwith an excellent win over early pace setters Crusaders.

Today they face a Larne side who are tipped to be one of the main sides challenging the established clubs for glory given their recent financial investment and player recruitment.

Kearney though feels the league as a whole is as competitive as it has ever been.

“There’s so much quality in this league you could see it being a season where everybody beats everybody,” he said.

“The queue to get into the top six is big, never mind anything else.

“I don’t see any team running away with it.

“You look at the league and it’s crazy. I think everybody will be in the mix this season. It’s got that look about it.

“You have clubs with a lot of backing behind them and a lot of good players across the league.

“I just see it being the strangest season ever and there could be six teams in the mix by January time.

“For us we are frustrated with some of the points we have dropped this year, but it’s important on days like last Saturday, we pick up good results.

“It’s nice to be unbeaten, and people keep talking about it.

“But to be honest I’d probably swap those draws for a couple of wins and a couple of defeats as we’d be four points better off.

“It’s important that we keep picking up as many wins as possible to keep us up and about it.

“Larne are littered full of really good Irish League players who have been about this league for a long time.

“There is no doubt about how tough a task it is going to be.”

The Bannsiders will still be without leading scorer James McLaughlin, who is set to miss the next few weeks due to a hamstring injury.

“It’s looking to be about four to six weeks with a hamstring,” revealed Kearney.

“It’s disappointing for him with the shape he has gotten himself into and he was in goalscoring form, but it’s one he will have to take on the chin.

“It is key he keeps doing that work behind him to keep in that shape so he can add to that as well.”

Larne boss Tiernan Lynch is relishing the trip to The Showgrounds and the challenge of facing the Bannsiders.

“We’re looking forward to the game because we want to challenge ourselves against the best teams,” he said.

“Coleraine look like they are one of the best teams right now.

“We’ll go up there with a game plan, we’ll have worked hard on it all week and we will see where it takes us.”

Lynch was frustrated his side failed to break down a stubborn Dungannon Swifts side at Inver Park last week.

“Dungannon made it extremely difficult for us, they got numbers behind the ball, it was difficult for us to break down, and we didn’t get the space we wanted,” siad the Larne boss.

“All-in-all though I have to give the boys huge credit they kept working at it, and on another day one of those chances fall, but last week it just wasn’t to be.

“We had 36 or 37 box entries towards the end of the game, sometimes the ball just doesn’t fall for you.”