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Coleraine boss Kearney thrilled as magical McGonigle repays his faith

Coleraine 2 Carrick Rangers 0

By Keith Thomas

Two-goal Jamie McGonigle ended Coleraine's six-match winless run and silenced his critics.

The striker came under fire for a series of misses in the Boxing Day defeat at derby rivals Ballymena United, but manager Oran Kearney kept faith with him and reckoned he responded in the best possible way.

"He did his talking on the pitch with two of the best finishes I've seen at this level," said Kearney, who was forced to watch from the stand for a second game following his dismissal in the heat of the recent League Cup defeat by Ballymena but who kept his cool as Coleraine found the scoring touch again after a lean period.

He added: "I told my players they were learning more from the tough spell we have been through than they did when we were going well and up at the top end of the table challenging the league leaders.

"There is no extra pressure on me because I put myself under constant pressure to deliver high standards.

"It's disrespectful of fans who say we should be beating Carrick and certain other teams every time we play them. The fact is that this is a tough league and nobody has a God-given right to win a game of football.

"You have to work hard for everything you get in this league.

"In the second half we wore Carrick down and got our reward for sheer hard work and endeavour."

Rangers boss Aaron Callaghan maintained his battlers deserved to win this rehearsal for next weekend's Irish Cup clash.

"I think we played some great football in difficult conditions and, if we had taken our chances, we would have closed out a win," he said.

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