Oran Kearney: I'm back to unearth a few diamonds and get Coleraine firing again
Oran Kearney returned to Coleraine last night, vowing to unearth 'diamonds' that will make Coleraine sparkle again, as they did in his previous reign.
Kearney has returned on a two-year contract to the club he left for St Mirren 10 months ago following an Irish Cup success.
The Ballymoney man led Coleraine from 2011 to 2018 and departed St Mirren by mutual consent last month after securing their Scottish top flight status. A difference of opinion over his commuting from Northern Ireland is believed to have led to the split.
He takes over from Rodney McAree who was sacked in May after failing to achieve European football.
Speaking after being unveiled last night, Kearney said: "The last 10 days have been a whirlwind as where I expected to be and where I am now, are quite a distance away from each other.
"For everything to change at St Mirren rather quickly was disappointing and it has been a tough couple of weeks, but it's important to look forward and the only bit of luck I've had in the last few days is that Dundalk refused to give Coleraine permission to speak to Ruaidhri Higgins (for the manager's job).
"If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't be sitting here and I thank my lucky stars for that. However, it has been a testing time and probably the majority of it has been non-football based and that's frustrating."
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Kearney admitted that parting company with St Mirren 'hurt' but believes he returns to Northern Ireland as a better manager.
"Coleraine is a great club and I took seven years to build us into a force that came within a point of winning the league and securing the Irish Cup."
Kearney added: “It is important for me to get right back out there as I didn’t want to rest on my laurels for six months.
“Scotland hurt but it was also a great experience and one I feel that I’m better for in the long run.
“I just want to crack on now and do what I do best - that’s football.”
Coleraine have failed to add to their squad during the transfer window but Kearney hopes to find quality additions.
“The league I left and have returned to, there are a lot of clubs getting their house in order in relation to their agendas moving forward,” he said. “It’s important we don’t stand still and we aren’t left behind as such, which is why it is important to get back onto the pitch and working.
“I will have to assess the squad but there wasn’t much point in me feeling sorry for myself and waiting another month, so it’s all about finding a few diamonds to move us forward.”
The club confirmed that the backroom staff of William Murphy, Paul Owens and Trevor McKendry — who previously worked under Kearney — will remain.