Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine axe boss Rodney McAree after Euro play-off failure

 

Rodney McAree
Rodney McAree

By Graham Luney

Coleraine have parted company with manager Rodney McAree who was in charge of the club for less than a season.

The Bannsiders announced the decision late last night stating that it was by mutual consent and they would now begin the search for McAree's successor.

McAree left Dungannon Swifts for Coleraine in September after Oran Kearney was appointed boss at Scottish Premiership outfit St Mirren.

The Coleraine board would love Kearney back but he is doing an impressive job with St Mirren and has a shot at saving them from relegation when all seemed lost earlier in the season.

Kearney won the Irish Cup with Coleraine last season and led them to runners-up spot in a thrilling league title race which was won by Crusaders.

It was always going to be hard to follow that and with McAree determined to bring his own brand of football to the Showgrounds and his own players, this was viewed by many as a season of transition for the Bannsiders.

They finished sixth in the league and were knocked out at the semi-final stage of the Irish Cup yet on Tuesday night were within seconds of reaching the Europa League decider only for a controversial refereeing decision to go against them, eventually losing 5-3. A club statement read: "Coleraine Football Club have parted company with manager Rodney McAree by mutual consent."

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The statement added: “McAree leaves the Showgrounds with immediate effect.

“The Board of Directors would like to place on record their thanks to Rod for the efforts and commitment he has made since his appointment and wish him well for the future.

“The club will now begin the process of recruiting a new manager. No further comment will be made at this time. A further statement will follow in due course.”

Today Coleraine could have had home advantage against Glentoran in the play-off final with £200,000 going to the winners courtesy of Europa League qualification. Instead they are out of contention and McAree is out of a job.

Many Coleraine fans will feel the decision is harsh especially given that the board proved loyal to Kearney during his difficult days at the club and were rewarded for that. McAree, who won the League Cup at Dungannon Swifts, is a highly respected figure in the game and other offers will come his way.

Meanwhile, defender Jarlath O’Rourke has left Dungannon Swifts to join Crusaders.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of playing for Dungannon,” said O’Rourke. “From making my debut at 17 years old to winning the League Cup last season, I’ve some great memories. I’ve no doubt Dungannon with all the young talent coming through will continue to move forward. I’d like to thank the board, management and supporters for everything.”

• Northern Ireland under-19 international goalkeeper Ollie Webber has signed a new one-year professional deal with Premier League side Crystal Palace.

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