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I still have desire for cross-channel challenge: Kearney


Take two: Oran Kearney is keen for another crack across the water

Take two: Oran Kearney is keen for another crack across the water

©INPHO/Brian Little

Take two: Oran Kearney is keen for another crack across the water

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney says a new three-year deal with the club hasn’t slammed the brakes on his managerial ambitions.

Kearney kept St Mirren in the Scottish Premiership before returning to the Bannsiders in 2019 and as he leads his side into another campaign, he’s still dreaming big.

The former Linfield midfielder is fully focused on masterminding more European success this week but he remains an ambitious manager open to an exciting challenge should another door open.

Coleraine went down 2-1 to Bosnian side Velez Mostar in the first leg of their Europa Conference League first qualifying round tie in Sarajevo but will aim to turn things around at Mourneview Park tomorrow night.

A new artificial pitch is being installed at the Coleraine Showgrounds and despite the club’s part-time status, they have earned a reputation of being one of the Premiership’s most dangerous and successful sides.

Former Limavady United boss Kearney, who will turn 43 this month, knows if he can taste more success with Coleraine, another cross-channel offer could emerge.

“It would still be my aim to manage somewhere like England or Scotland, without a doubt,” said the former Ballymena United midfielder.

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“It’s the same as a Joel Cooper or Gavin Whyte. You would never berate or begrudge anyone their desire to try something different in their career, particularly in the full-time game.

“It’s no different with the managers. I love it at Coleraine, I have a great relationship with the club and fans but I never thought the first opportunity to come up in Scotland would arise.

“That was great and I would love for another chance to come. Having said that, if it doesn’t come, I’m in a great place.”

Northern Ireland managers have earned glowing praise as they set about learning their trade further afield.

Grant McCann has taken Hull City back into the Championship, Cheltenham, under the guidance of Michael Duff, gained promotion from League Two and Warren Feeney will be managing in Bulgaria’s top flight next season after taking Pirin Blagoevgrad up as champions.

Closer to home, David Healy has guided Linfield to a fourth title in five years, with last season’s league and cup double arguably his finest achievement as a manager.

Still only 41, Healy is another young ambitious manager whose talents are being noticed beyond the confines of Windsor Park.

“Without a doubt, it’s nice to see managers pursuing their careers further afield and it’s great to see so many of them do so well,” added Kearney. “They are making their mark in different leagues across Europe.

“David has done a great job there. The league has become a lot more competitive and they have gone the distance and won the league.

“There’s a lot of good managers in the league and they are raising the bar for all of us.

“With regard to David’s future, that’s his business and I’m sure he will make the right decisions for himself and his family. He’s done a fantastic job at Linfield and of course the more success he has the more chat there will be like that.”

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