COLERAINE Manager Oran Kearney hailed Stephen Lowry as the ‘heartbeat’ of his team as the midfielder put on an imperious display to help his side see off Cliftonville on Monday night.
Lowry scored one and created another as the Bannsiders ran riot at Solitude to seal a 3-1 win, their first of the season, and move up to fourth place in the Danske Bank Irish Premiership.
“Stephen is our heartbeat it’s as simple as that,” said a delighted Kearney after the game.
“I’m delighted he stayed with us in the summer and he’ll be with us for a long time and there’s no doubt in my mind he is up there with the best in the league.”
Skipper Howard Beverland also paid tribute to the man-of-the-match.
“It’s paying dividends now for us keeping Stevie at Coleraine,” said Beverland.
“From Stevie right through the rest of the team it was a massive performance to come to the home of the league champions and beat them.
“It’s a massive win for us and great to finally pick up three points after drawing the first four games.
Lowry, who dedicated his goal to his fiancee following their engagement at the weekend, said it took a real team effort to see off the Reds in their own backyard.
“It takes a lot of effort from all of the lads to get a result like that,” said Lowry.
“They have been conceding a few goals this season so our plan was to hit them on the break. We created a lot of chances tonight and we managed to take three of them
“It’s great for the fans, they always bring a good crowd up here and we have a lot of good memories down the years of playing Cliftonville here. It’s great to be able to give them three points.”