Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine players would do cartwheels to bring Oran Kearney back: Eoin Bradley

 

Dream team: Eoin Bradley looks on as Oran Kearney is hugged by James Nesbitt after guiding Coleraine to Irish Cup success in 2018
Dream team: Eoin Bradley looks on as Oran Kearney is hugged by James Nesbitt after guiding Coleraine to Irish Cup success in 2018

By Graham Luney

Coleraine frontman Eoin Bradley has told the club to call Oran Kearney and bring back the king.

Kearney is set to leave St Mirren after a falling out with chairman Gordon Scott and he's the natural number one choice for the Bannsiders as they hunt for a new boss.

Coleraine's planned friendly with St Mirren on Saturday has been cancelled in light of Kearney's expected departure from the Buddies.

Scott was unimpressed with Kearney's plans to continue commuting to Paisley from his home in Ballymoney and that has led to a break-up.

Bannsiders chairman Colin McKendry acknowledged that the 40-year-old would be high up on their wishlist to take over and Bradley is hoping the former Linfield midfielder makes an emotional homecoming.

The Coleraine players returned to training last night, awaiting news on the club's search for a new manager, and Kearney's name was on their lips.

"Everyone knows the situation and we will have to see what happens with Oran, who will undoubtedly be one of the club's targets," said Bradley.

"Whenever Rodney (McAree) and Coleraine parted ways the link with Oran is there and it would be great for us.

"As Colin has said, Coleraine will not be the only club in for Oran, he will be in big demand and hopefully he can come back to us.

"I think the players would do cartwheels to bring Oran back. We had a great bond, and whenever he left it was the closing of a very successful chapter for the club.

"There were a lot of disappointed people but there can be bigger and better things in life and we understood Oran's desire to test himself in the Scottish Premiership.

"The players loved him and I got on well with Oran outside football as well as within the game.

"You couldn't meet a nicer fella and we were lucky to have him."

Regardless of Kearney's next move, he will be disappointed to leave the Buddies, who managed to perform the great escape and remain in Scotland's top flight.

Former Derry GAA star Bradley believes his old boss can still make a huge impact as a manager in Scotland or England, even if his first taste of cross-channel work ends on a sour note.

"Personally, I'd have loved to see him progress as a manager, but it would not surprise me to see him get another chance in Scotland or England," added Bradley. "It is the same for the players, sometimes you have to see what the environment is like over there and learn from it.

"If he came home it would give the club and whole area a boost, but I would also like to see him move on again and develop further.

"He deserves every success that comes his way. He's so talented and down to earth."

Kearney was told not to attend St Mirren's pre-season training and the club announced on Twitter: "We would like to confirm that the planned fixture with Coleraine has been cancelled.

"We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Coleraine are furious with the decision, hitting out at St Mirren in a statement on their website.

They said: "Coleraine FC have today been informed by St Mirren FC that they will not fulfil the fixture this Saturday at the Coleraine Showgrounds.

"This decision was taken by St Mirren and was without consultation with ourselves."

The Bannsiders players will soon be focused again on the business of winning football matches.

Bradley, who has another year left on his contract, added: "I've been training hard and keeping fit.

"A few of us have been training hard with the Gaelic team, so I'm in good enough shape.

"Last season we weren't good enough but we can't cry over spilt milk. We need to regroup under a new manager and go again."

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