Belfast Telegraph

Coleraine 'very disappointed' as St Mirren cancel friendly while Bannsiders prepare Kearney approach

Crunch time: Oran Kearney
Crunch time: Oran Kearney

Coleraine chair Colin McKendry is 'very disappointed' following St Mirren's decision to cancel the friendly between the clubs, which had been scheduled to take place on Saturday.

Less than an hour after Coleraine tweeted to say the fixture was set to continue as planned, the Buddies confirmed that they had pulled the plug on the Coleraine Showgrounds game, while assuring that they will still play Rosario in Belfast on Friday night.

St Mirren will 'endeavour to refund any expenses' their club's supporters had already paid out to come to the game but their decision has been met with displeasure on the north coast.

“I am very disappointed in the cancellation of this fixture which I had agreed with St Mirren when we facilitated Oran’s move to them as their manager last year," Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry told the club website.

“We were looking forward to hosting St Mirren and had already had a number of their fans in contact regarding travel arrangements etc. Nevertheless we look forward to the launch of our new training and playing attire from Avec Sport on Saturday at our Open Day event.”

St Mirren's decision comes after Oran Kearney, still officially the club's manager, was absent for the opening day of pre-season training on Monday and his departure from the Buddies is expected to be confirmed soon.

Kearney could, however, soon be in charge of Coleraine with the north coast club preparing to launch a bid to bring their Irish Cup winning manager back.

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The Bannsiders have been without a manager for over six weeks since Rod McAree's departure and once Kearney is confirmed as a free agent, he will become candidate number one.

Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry said: "If Oran, as a former manager of Coleraine who had built something special at the club, became available, it would be totally remiss of me not to approach him. He knows the club and many of his players are still there.

"As a person running a business at Coleraine, I know how good a manager Oran is and also what a good person he is.

"I would assume we would not be the only people looking to talk to him simply because of his ability and his reputation.

"What he has done at St Mirren, in my opinion, has been astonishing. Personally, I would love Oran back at our club but we will see what happens."

Addressing rumours Coleraine had hoped Kearney would depart St Mirren all along, McKendry stated that wasn't correct, pointing out that earlier this month they approached Dundalk to speak to their assistant Ruaidhri Higgins only to be denied permission by the League of Ireland outfit.

"People have said our plan the whole time was to wait for Oran. It genuinely has not been like that at all," said McKendry.

"We felt that Oran would be staying with St Mirren and I was sure he would continue his outstanding work there. That's why we looked at Ruaidhri Higgins, but obviously things have changed."

Coleraine players start pre-season training tonight, with coaches William Murphy, Trevor McKendry and Paul Owens putting them through their paces.

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