Belfast Telegraph

Kearney insists his perfect blend can clinch success

By Stuart McKinley

Oran Kearney is in no doubt that he can win with kids - because his Coleraine team also has a number of quality experienced players who have guided the youngsters through a number of challenges already this season.

Alan Hansen ended up with egg on his face 20 years ago when Manchester United won a league and FA Cup double just months after his famous 'you can't win anything with kids' quote.

Kearney is trying to prove the former Liverpool and Scotland star wrong too as he looks to win his first trophy in management and at the same time end the Bannsiders' 12-year long silverware famine by lifting the JBE League Cup.

And he points to the likes of goalkeeper Michael Doherty (32), defender Steven Douglas (38), midfield star Neil McCafferty (31) and Sammy Morrow (30) up front as integral to the development of teenage trio Lyndon Kane, Brad Lyons and Jamie McGonigle, who have all played big parts in putting Coleraine into the top three in the league, as well as tonight's League Cup semi clash with Ards.

"We don't have really young kids and if you work out the average age of our team, Steven Douglas is nearly worth two players," said Kearney.

"Yes, we have our four or five teenagers who play, but we also have three or four who are 30-plus as well who balance that up.

"I would call us a normal team. I wouldn't call us a frighteningly young side."

Coleraine have lost their last two games, against Linfield and Glenavon, but before that they had put together an impressive run of 13 games unbeaten in all competitions.

That sequence took them second in the Danske Bank Premiership and it has also given Kearney the belief that his youthful team is capable of winning a trophy.

"To win anything you need to be good enough to beat anyone on your day and there are a lot of teams in the league that are like that. We've shown this year that we can do that, so why not?" said Kearney.

"That's the next thing that these lads need to do. We've got senior lads like Steven Douglas at 38 and has won plenty of things in the past, but I am sure there's nothing he would love more than to pick up another one.

"And I would say that for everything he has won in his career, with the team we have at Coleraine, it would mean a lot more to him and he'd take more satisfaction from it given the context of where we are.

"We can't get carried away and we just have to hope we can keep going."

Belfast Telegraph


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