Oran Kearney delighted as Coleraine reap the benefits on and off the pitch

As Saturdays go it couldn’t have got much better for Coleraine.

Monday, 27th September 2021, 7:28 am

The first game at home this season in front of a packed house as the Bannsiders christened the opening of their new facilities with a win over derby rivals Ballymena United certainly ticked all the boxes.

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney knows all to well that with expectation comes pressure, so picking up those three points and send the Bannsiders’ support home happy was the most important thing, and just reward for all the hard work that has gone in over the last couple of months.

“When you walked into The Showgrounds last Monday for a game on the Saturday, you have to credit the work by the Board, the groups of fans and those who have the club at the very front of their hearts,” he said.

Coleraine fans celebrate Cathair Friel’s late goal

“With that, I put myself under immense pressure like I always do to win a game of football, but the most important thing was to reward all those people for everything that they’ve done.

“I think today was just reward, it’s been a hell of a week and we will all sleep tonight.

“On the same stretch, to go and get a result in the manner that we did was everything that we wanted.

“We say to the players all the time when we get crowds like that it’s important to give them a reason to come back.

“The performance today has allowed us that to happen, we scored three great goals and everyone goes home happy and we hope to see them again.

“You carry a lot of stress in the expectation or want of people going home happy.

“Did I enjoy today? Probably not until the third goal went in. You do relax a little bit but I didn’t enjoy much until then.”

As well as the new 3g surface the Bannsiders have remodelled the dressing rooms, replaced seating in the grandstand and installed a state-of-the-art display screen.

And they produced a performance worthy of their new surroundings as they put the Sky Blues to the sword.

Matthew Shevlin and fellow United old boy Cathair Friel scored either side of an Eoin Bradley wonder goal to seal a deserved win.

And Kearney was delighted to see three of his front men get on the score sheet again.

“The goals from the strikers is very pleasing,” he said.

“We will take goals from anywhere but particularly when you have strikers weighing in, it is even more important.

“They were three very good finishes.

“We managed the game well considering the euphoria for the players who moved in this week and the ‘wow’ factor and everything that comes with it.

“The biggest danger was to get caught up in the hullaballoo of all the new developments and forget about the game of football.

“The biggest thing we had been driving in was three-o-clock on Saturday and making sure we took care of that.

“I must give big credit to the players because their level of performance in the last four or five games have been on the money.”