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How Oran Kearney has made me flourish at Coleraine, reveals Aaron Traynor

 

Aaron Traynor

Aaron Traynor has revealed how some tough love from Oran Kearney transformed him into one of the Irish League's most talented full-backs.

The former Warrenpoint Town man, who joined the Bannsiders in 2017, has developed into a first-class attacking player as well as defender, and he credits his boss for helping him to shine at one of the Premiership's top sides.

"Oran taught me a big, big lesson back in 2017," said Traynor ahead of the BetMcLean League Cup final against Crusaders. "I remember coming into Coleraine and we played a friendly over at Rangers, then I had the Charity Shield and that first league game against Dungannon Swifts.

"Those early performances were really hot and cold. Oran benched me for three games after that first league match and I was thinking what had I done with that choice to make that commitment to travel up to Coleraine.

"But he took me aside and told me the type of player he wanted and needed. It made me think how maybe I was at a bigger club now so couldn't just do what I wanted.

"I've listened, he's taken me under his wing and I've just tried to implement what he's asked. He's probably got the best out of me and I've to thank him.

"When I was young I was energetic and probably didn't put any thought into my game, I just freestyled it.

"But under Oran, now he's been teaching me different things on how to change my game.

"I think he has helped me mature on and off the pitch and I'm getting the benefits of it, and hopefully the team too."

Traynor, who also played for Lisburn Distillery, Portadown and Carrick, is enjoying his football again after recovering from a cruel ACL injury in October 2018.

"I had to watch games last season and it wasn't nice," he added.

"We were struggling and, on a personal level, it was also hard to watch when not playing.

"I was given a lifeline in September when we had two defenders (Stephen O'Donnell and Adam Mullan) sent off against Ballymena United, so Oran approached me and said there was a chance if I felt up for it.

"There was no pressure to rush me back after such a long injury but, selfishly, I looked on it as my chance to get back in quicker than expected. We played Crusaders and won 4-2.

"Slowly and surely I'm getting back to where I was a few years ago when I felt fit, fast and strong."

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