Kearney plotting downfall of Linfield
A warning to tomorrow’s assistant linesman patrolling the touchline in front of the Windsor Park dug-outs — bring a pair of earplugs with you!
Former darling of the South Stand, Oran Kearney, returns to his old stomping ground for the first time as Coleraine manager — and an unbeaten one at that — so he has plenty to shout about.
And put him beside David Jeffrey, not exactly a shrinking violet on the touchline, and it’s not going to be the perfect place for those looking for a bit of piece and quiet.
Kearney has taken to management at the top level like a duck to water and the all-action style that earned him plaudits at Ballymena United and a clutch of medals at Linfield as a player, is serving him in good stead as he lives and breathes every second of the action unfolding in front of him.
“I hope Davy’s got his earplugs with him! I think I have to fight fire with fire,” joked Kearney.
“A month ago if you’d have offered me seven matches unbeaten I’d have been over the moon with that.
“It’s been great, although we’ve been ravaged with injuries and hit big time from that point of view. The 11 or 12 players we’ve had have really knuckled down and given everything they’ve got.
“All credit goes to them because they’ve been fantastic and they’ve just got on with it.”
Having played against and for the Blues, he knows just what awaits at Windsor Park, but far from apprehension he’s hopeful that his threadbare side can rise to the occasion once again.
“Going five unbeaten was tough, going six was tough and the one thing I know about this league there isn’t an easy game,” he added.
“It’s a league like no other. It’s not about the position you are in the table, it’s not about your name, it’s about how you turn up on that Saturday and how you perform.
“Yes it’s Linfield and they are top of the league but we can’t go there with an inferiority complex and we can’t go there expecting the worst or you’ll get the worst.
“We’ve got to go there with a fresh outlook and look to get something.”
Unusually it’s a chance for a teacher to get one over his tutor, as the PE master looks to get the better of his former superior.
“I’m looking forward to it more than anything and I would hope
it’s the first of many encounters,” Kearney said. “I had a great time up at Linfield and learned an awful lot from Davy and we’re still very close and I would speak to him regularly.
“But come three o’clock on Saturday he’ll want nothing but three points and I’ll want nothing but three points.
“I’m very much looking forward to going back up there.”
It’ll be hard though for Kearney not to spare a thought for the success he enjoyed at the Shrine where he is sure to be given a hero’s welcome tomorrow.
“The first season I went there was the clean sweep season. I played 52 or 53 games and it was literally the same 11 that played week-in, week-out,” he explained.
“To make history in that way and to be part of that side was probably the fondest part of it.”
And a win tomorrow would certainly help the fledgling boss continue his high-flying start and write another memorable chapter.