Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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Kane's loving his role as Coleraine bid for glory

Coleraine 3 Larne 1

By Steven Beacom

Coleraine hero Lyndon Kane chuckled at the thought as he reflected on his second goal in his 99th appearance for the club he has supported all his life.

What a beauty it was. Racing forward early in the second half from his right back position to fire home from 25 yards. Important too as it broke the deadlock in a compelling Tennent's Irish Cup semi-final against Championship outfit Larne at a packed and atmospheric Ballymena Showgrounds on Saturday.

Davy McDaid would equalise for Larne on 77 minutes finishing a flowing move before Gareth McConaghie headed in a corner to restore Coleraine's lead in their next meaningful attack. Josh Carson, taker of so many dangerous set pieces, netted an injury time penalty to seal the deal for the top flight side after workaholic Brad Lyons was brought down.

At the final whistle Kane celebrated like the supporter he is. Few deserved the joy of reaching the final versus Cliftonville more because the 21-year-old full-back has had a tortuous campaign.

In a pre-season friendly he suffered a broken metatarsal, missing Coleraine's fixtures in Europe and most of his side's remarkable run of form since August only returning to action last month.

Even in that short space of time his quality has been evident. He showed it again on Saturday with a stunning strike and enjoyed an engaging battle on the flank with Larne's impressive Jerry Thompson.

Speaking about his goalden moment, Kane said: "I could only have dreamt of that happening. It has to be right up there in my career so far.

"The seven months out with injury were tough. I feel as though I'm making up for lost time and while I'd be happy for anyone to score to help us get into the final, for me to do it was special with all my family there watching."

Tomorrow the double chasing Bannsiders travel to take on Crusaders in a title crunch. Oran Kearney's men would go one point clear at the top of the table with four games left should they triumph at Seaview.

"We are on the crest of a wave. It's a dream come true to watch all of this unfold," added Kane, who would love another goal in his 100th Coleraine game.

"It has been a surprise for a lot of people but the way we finished the back end of last season, pre-season and the European games, we always felt we had something in the changing room.

"And with the signings Oran made in the summer with Josh Carson, Stephen O'Donnell and Aaron Traynor, we always knew there was something special. We have players who all came through together at the club and added players like Chris Johns and Aaron Burns. We've got the basis of a great team and hopefully we can do big things together."

For Larne although there was disappointment at the end of a thrilling Cup run, there is a sense this is only the start for the Championship club. With the arrival of backer Kenny Bruce the Inver Park outfit are on the up.

Proud of his players, Larne boss Tiernan Lynch outlined how important Purple Bricks multi-millionaire Bruce is to the town as well as the football club.

This isn't all about money. This is about Larne as a town and Larne as a football club," said Lynch.

"Kenny is providing financial backing but he is not throwing stupid money away. Everything is done within a budget."

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Harkin, McCauley, Bradley (Burns, 90 mins), Carson, McConaghie, Lyons, O'Donnell, Traynor, McGonigle (Dooley, 81 mins). Unused subs: Mullan, Douglas, Smith, Parkhill, Doherty.

LARNE: Devlin, Henry, Thompson, Holland, Ramsey, Finnegan, Caldwell, Scullion, Stewart, McDaid (Georgaklis, 90 mins), Donnelly. Unused subs: Tolan, Bradley, Kelly, Heron, McCabe, McIvor.

Referee: Ian McNabb (Newtownabbey)

Man of the match: Gareth McConaghie

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

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