Stripes are on point

Ruairi Harkin celebrates his early opener. ''photo:Derek Simpson
Ruairi Harkin celebrates his early opener. ''photo:Derek Simpson

Coleraine’s season is finally off and running after they picked up a valuable 3-1 win away at Warrenpoint Town on Saturday.

After taking just a single point from their first three matches the Bannsiders picked up all three points despite having a number of players out including captain Howard Beverland.

Two goals in the first ten minutes from Man of the Match Ruairi Harkin and Gary Browne set Coleraine into a comfortable lead only for Warrenpoint’s Dermot McVeigh to pull one back on 14 minutes in what was frantic start to an open game.

Oran Kearney’s men though stood firm and sealed the win with 12 minutes to go as defender David Ogilby headed in the third to give his side a bit of breathing space in the closing stages.

The Bannsiders boss was delighted his side made such a flying start to the game, particularly after such a long trek to Warrenpoint.

“We always try and get there a bit earlier than normal so the lads can get out on the pitch and walk about and stretch the legs and get woke up again,” he said after the game.

“There’s a few lads who would even sleep on the way down there as it’s such a long journey.

“The preparation worked well for us and we got out of the traps really well. Ruairi’s goal was a great goal.

“Having him back amongst it again gave us a different look about things again. He’s strong on the ball, creates things and he’s getting to that age now were he’s going to get more responsibility placed upon his shoulders.

“You look at previous midfielders like Stevie Lowry who has moved on now and I have said to Ruairi it is crying out for him to step up now and just be the main man.

“He wears number 10, it’s an iconic number and you don’t hand him that shirt lightly without that air of responsibility.

“Today he stepped into that role brilliantly, he was superb. His talent is never in doubt, we all know what he is capable of, it’s just a matter of getting it out of him, and for him to hit a level of consistency were he is producing it week in, week out.”

Kearney was obviously pleased to finally pick up a win, but he told Times Sport the performance against Linfield proved what his side are capable of.

“Obviously the win was the main thing,” he said.

“The key thing we stressed to the players before the game was for as much as we were disappointed to lose the Linfield game, and we pointed out the individual errors which happened, it was a comfortable sort of week as everyone knocked their pain in and gave it everything they had on the day.

“The graft, the hard work and the honesty was all there for everyone to see - all the things you expect to see when you turn up every week.

“We said to the players before the game that they had shown their hand now. The fact that they go out and put in a performance like that against Linfield warrants me to demand the same again this week.

“To be fair I told them that if we produce that again this week then we will win the game.

“That’s not being disrespectful to Warrenpoint or anything else. Last week we gave eberything, fought to the bitter end, but we were fighting for three points.

“Today we were going out and there was another three points up for grabs, for me it was as simple as that - if you put in the same graft, affort and attitude then you will get your rewards.

“We had six players out so it was very pleasing to come away with the win. We never gripe about injuries, but again we had a bench full of kids. We are down to the absolute minimum of what we have got.

“So with that in mind it makes it even more pleasing. The majority of people had us written off and felt we would struggle down there so it was so pleasing to not only perform but also pick up the win.

“There is a great togetherness about the squad, I think you can see that in all the goals that were scored. For me it was just a really good victory.

“We started the game well and were disappointed in the manner of the goal that let Warrenpoint back into it.

“They then had a purple patch where they maybe could have been 3-2 up. Thankfully, we rode that storm, which maybe we haven’t done in other weeks and then showed a bit of experience to nullify the game more than anything else.

“We created another opportunity and got a good goal from David Ogilby and thankfully it was plain enough sailing from there.”

Despite the defeat, Warrenpoint manager Barry Gray was upbeat.

“You build a mountain to climb by conceding the first two goals and they were two poor goals to concede so early and in such a short space of time. I think half-time came at a bad time for us because it killed the game when we were well on top.” said Gray.