It's first blood to Coleraine

Coleraine may have gained a slight psychological edge ahead of next month's Irish Cup semi final following this win over Glenavon.

Monday, 20th March 2017, 7:16 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:08 am
Jamie McGonigle celebrates after scoring to make it 2-1 to Coleraine during Saturday's match at Mourneview Park. Photo by TONY HENDRON/PRESSEYE.COM

However neither manager was getting too carried away after a hard-fought game at Mourneview Park.

The win saw the Bannsiders leapfrog Cliftonville into third place in the table, but as always it’s one game at a time for oran Kearney.

“We’re into third now, but I said to the lads it’s not about being third with seven games to go it’s about being there at the end of the season,” he said afterwards.

“We’ve caught up serious ground on Cliftonville, but we’re only a point ahead so we won’t be resting on our laurels or slapping each other’s backs now.

“It’s all about where we are in a month and a half.

“It was by no means one for the purist today.

“It was similar to last week as it was never nailed on until the final whistle.

“To be fair to Glenavon they came at us in the last ten minutes and threw a lot at us.

“They are a big set piece side, and in Andy Hall they have one of the best deliverers of a ball in the league.

“The amount of quality crosses into our box was probably up into double figures.

“I’m delighted to have picked up the three points and to have produced a decent performance.”

Kearney’s in-form striking duo, Eoin Bradley and Jamie McGonigle did the damage again.

McGonigle fired in a brace to cancel out Joel Cooper’s early opener, and you can see he is relishing playing up topwith Bradley.

The former Glenavon man produced a sublime pass for McGonigle’s second and Kearney was quick to praise them both.

“They are forming a nice partnership together.

“The first time they played together they played very wide apart, both myself and Skinner had a wee chat to Jamie to say that he needs to float around Skinner because the type of player he is there will be plenty of things come off him.

“The second goal today was a great touch by Skinner and a great ball round the corner, Jamie was in a nice area to allow that to happen.

“It’s a great return for Jamie to be sitting on 17 goals already this season, but we’re not shocked and that’s the key thing.

“He has developed so much in the last two years and he will keep getting better the more he plays..

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton felt his side were unlucky not to take something out of the game.

They came within inches of retaking the lead when Simon Kelly crashed a shot off the bar minutes before McGonigle grabbed his 17th of the season.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose it today, it was an even enough game and I thought we deserved at the least a draw,” he said.

“They probably had about three chances and took two of them, we created slightly more but only took one.

“That’s how football goes, it’s all about who takes their chances.

“Coleraine are a good side, I’m not surprised they are on the run they are on.

“They are strong, energetic and there is a lot of pace in their side.

“They have two top strikers up top and another two waiting on the bench to come on.

“They were missing David Ogilby and Brad Lyons today, they will probably come in for the semi final.

“As I said we know they are a good side and if we are going to get a result against them we have to be on the top of our game.

“This run they are on shows they are not an easy side to get a result against.

“We will have to make sure we are right on the day to get a result against them,” added Hamilton.