Belfast Telegraph

I'll sign a new Coleraine contract confirms boss Oran Kearney

 

By Graham Luney

Coleraine have been given the perfect pick up after their Tennent’s Irish Cup Final defeat to Linfield with the news that manager Oran Kearney will extend his stay with the club.

The former Linfield midfielder will sign a new two-year deal in the coming days as he sets about plotting more success in an “exciting new era” for the Bannsiders.

Coleraine’s remarkable third place finish in the Danske Bank Premiership earned them a Europa League adventure, and Monday’s draw could hand them a dream clash with either Rangers or St Johnstone.

The 3-0 Cup final loss to the Blues saw the last campaign end on a flat note but, after bringing Josh Carson, Stephen O’Donnell and Aaron Traynor to the Showgrounds, Kearney is eager to sign a new contract and get down to business.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed in April that the Bannsiders board was set to offer the 38-year-old a new two-year deal and Kearney is now optimistic about the club’s future.

“The contract will be sorted out this week or next,” said Kearney whose side played the Gers in a friendly at Murray Park on the outskirts of Glasgow yesterday.

“I’ve been busy with other important matters like players’ contracts so I never got round to signing a contract, but it will happen soon. I had a small window of opportunity to sort squad issues out and wasn’t thinking about myself.

“It’s taken six-and-a-half years of hard work and graft to get to this position where we are in the Premiership’s top three and the Irish Cup Final. It’s an exciting new era for the club and we want to build on the success we have enjoyed and keep progressing. I’m happy at Coleraine and want to keep the club building for the future.”

The Bannsiders have a chance of landing Scottish giants Rangers and St Johnstone in Monday’s draw, but they cannot face Derry City or Cork City as they are also unseeded for the draw.

Clubs from the same league cannot face each other but a battle with the Gers or Tommy Wright’s Saints would really capture the imagination of supporters.

“I think the Rangers and St Johnstone ties would be brilliant and generate a lot of interest,” added Kearney. “Many of our supporters would want the Scottish sides, and I can relate to that, but as a player with Linfield I always like to go on the away trips to experience new countries and different stadiums. There’s a lot of teams in the draw but, too many to analyse, but the boys have worked very hard to be in this position and we want to make the most of it.

“I played against Tommy Wright’s Lisburn Distillery side in my time as a player and he’s done a fantastic job there. Being a proud Northern Irishman he would quite like to come over here as well I would imagine.

“There is big money to be made for the Irish League clubs involved, particularly in the Champions League, and Linfield will benefit from that.”

Some of Coleraine’s European money will go towards the appointment of a full-time football development officer as the club looks to nurture the best talent of the north-west area.

• Cliftonville have confirmed that Aaron Haire and James Knowles have left the club but Aaron Donnelly has agreed a new deal and Ciaran Caldwell has returned to Solitude.

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