Coleraine boss Kearney's joy as Eoin Bradley returns with a bang
Coleraine 5 Carrick Rangers 1
Eoin Bradley netted a hat trick on his second coming at Coleraine.
The return of the Showgrounds' prodigal son was hailed a master stroke by manager Oran Kearney who only a fortnight ago was under fire from a section of fans after a winless run of six games.
Now, three victories later, the bubbling Bannsiders are on the up again although Kearney is refusing to acknowledge anything more than reaching another rung on the ladder of progression.
"We took our chances - and early in the game," he said after a frustrating spell where they managed only one goal in those six matches which garnered a solitary league point and saw them exit the League Cup to derby rivals Ballymena United at the semi-final stage.
"The objective was simply to get through to the next round but to do it in such style was a bonus," Kearney said.
Bradley, who left Coleraine for Lurgan two and a half years ago and collected a cup winners' medal last season when Glenavon defeated Linfield in the showpiece showdown, announced his return with a sensational show that also rubbed off on co-striker Jordan Allan who helped himself to a brace as Carrick were cruelly crushed.
With only one win in eight outings now the result left boss Aaron Callaghan seeing red - literally! Dismissed for his protests over an early penalty decision against his team, Callaghan blasted his defenders for a sloppy performance.
"It was shocking," he fumed. "Four fundamental errors cost us the game."
Callaghan is vowing to make further changes after signing seven players in the transfer window and handing starts to ex-Coleraine defender Kyle McVey and Dubliner Sam O'Connor.
"The changes can't happen quickly enough because performances like this are just not acceptable," said Callaghan, who succeeded Kieran Harding as boss in October.
Reluctant hero Bradley deflected the attention onto his team mates, insisting Coleraine have the ability to go all the way this season after landing a sixth round home tie with Tobermore United next month.
Bradley said: "There is plenty of quality in this team and I don't see why we can't repeat what we did at Glenavon last season. That's the challenge."