Kearney pays tribute to his Bannsiders' commitment
Coleraine 1-1 Linfield
Oran Kearney was impressed with Coleraine's energy levels after hitting back to draw 1-1 with Linfield just 48 hours after overcoming Ballymena United on derby duty.
Aaron Canning's second-half header earned the Bannsiders a deserved share of the spoils against their 10-man visitors, who had pulled in front courtesy of a wonderful strike from Stephen Fallon.
"I think we looked lacklustre in the first half," admitted Kearney (below).
"Credit to Linfield, they came out fast and you could see the hurt was there from Boxing Day.
"We've a good habit of strong second half performances and, credit to the guys, I thought, particularly with the 48 hour turnaround, the energy levels were immense.
"It's not just about the front men or the wide men weighing in with goals
"When was the last time we had a centre-half with 10 goals in a season?
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"It's important that we get centre halves weighing in with goals as well so it was great to see Aaron rising and scoring."
Linfield had their numbers reduced on 73 minutes as Ryan McGivern was sent-off for a second bookable offence, but there would be controversy moments later as Coleraine midfielder Stephen Lowry - who was already booked - fouled Shayne Lavery but escaped a second yellow card, much to the frustration of the visiting support.
The Bannsiders should have earned all three points with a minute to spare as Jamie Glackin found James McLaughlin unmarked inside the box but he was denied at close range by goalkeeper Rohan Ferguson.
Blues boss David Healy argued that a draw was probably a fair outcome on the North Coast.
"I wouldn't say happy, but I'm more content with a point because, again, Coleraine threw everything at it in the second half," he said.
"We had to dig in and there were a couple of big chances. Kirk Millar had a shot and Chris Johns made a terrific save. Rohan Ferguson had to deny James McLaughlin towards the end and it was a big save for us but we had to dig in.
"Coleraine make it really difficult for teams especially at home and they made it difficult for us in the second half.
"I thought overall a draw was probably a fair result.
"Ryan McGivern's is a red card because he picked up a second yellow card and I have absolutely no qualms about that.
"I have a huge amount of respect for Stephen Lowry and I was very disappointed when he left the football club.
"I have a huge amount of time for him but I think he was lucky even with the first challenge on Mulgrew.
"I have seen them given but I know Stephen is not that type of player.
"The frustrating thing for me and the inconsistency is that Stephen Lowry should have been sent off.
"You don't want people sent off but it would have given us a better opportunity of seeing the game out."
COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Canning, B Doherty (Parkhill, 62 mins), Lowry, McLaughlin, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Glackin, Traynor. Unused subs: M Doherty, O'Donnell, Gawne, McGuckin, Maciulaitis, Nevin.
LINFIELD: Ferguson, Stafford, Callacher, Waterworth, Shevlin (Clarke, 74 mins), Millar, Lavery (Stewart, 85 mins), Fallon (Hery, 78 mins), Mulgrew, McGivern, Casement. Unused subs: Moore, Kearns, Mitchell, Reynolds.
Referee: Shane Andrews
Man of the Match: Jamie Glackin
Match Rating: 7/10