Belfast Telegraph

Thompson tragedy has hurt everyone: Kearney

Larne 2 Coleraine 2

Jerry Thompson
Jerry Thompson

By Ian Cahoon

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney has spoken about the impact Jerry Thompson's death has had on 'the Irish League family' as a whole.

On Saturday, the Bannsiders drew 2-2 with Larne at Inver Park, where Jerry had once plied his trade.

Many of the Larne squad were at the funeral service prior to the game, after which manager Tiernan Lynch spoke emotionally about the impact the news of his passing had on the squad at Inver.

Visiting chief Kearney also revealed it led to his own players having a heart-to-heart before they trained last week.

"I appreciate that Jerry played for Larne, Portadown and Carrick but I think the Irish League is a big family and, as much as it has hurt all those clubs, it has hurt everyone," he said.

"It has been a real tough one for everyone. We spoke before training on Thursday night very openly about our players and the need (to speak up in times of distress).

"It has been a tough week for everyone and hopefully all the games played on Saturday did the young man justice."

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The game itself was an end-to-end affair, in which Larne goalkeeper Conor Devlin picked up the man of the match award after a string of fine saves.

"To be fair to Conor, he was excellent," Kearney admitted.

"There was one in the second-half with James McLaughlin where he's off his line like a bullet and closed the space down fantastically well.

"Those are the margins and they are the one where you can be winning all three points late on.

"Both teams gave it a really good rattle and the conditions weren't easy for both. I think the wind was clocked at 40mph and particularly when it's coming down the pitch you know it's going to be a game of two halves."

Larne began brightly and were ahead after just eight minutes, when Davy McDaid pounced on Steven Douglas's attempted headed clearance. After Chris Johns had saved from Johnny McMurray, McDaid was on hand to tap home.

The visitors, playing with the wind in the first period, turned the game on its head in the final seven minutes of the half.

Firstly, Eoin Bradley lashed home the equaliser from a tight angle and then, three minutes into stoppage time, Josh Carson poked home their second from close range.

The hosts secured a share of the spoils in the second half when Mark Randall latched on to Graham Kelly's hopeful long ball and slotted past Johns, despite protests about offside.

Inver boss Lynch said: "Anyone who knew about the match knew it was going to be an emotional day.

"There was lot to do with this that wasn't really about football but I thought we showed great character."

Larne: Devlin, Flowers, Kelly, Watson, Ramsey, Sule, Randall (Lynch, 85 mins), McDaid, Donnelly, Hughes, McMurray. Unused subs: Mitchell, McEleney, Tilney, McKendry, Graham, Gilmour.

Coleraine: Johns, Canning, Douglas, Jarvis (McLaughlin, 63 mins), Doherty, Bradley, Carson, McConaghie, Parkhill, Glackin (O'Donnell, 85 mins, 6), Traynor 7. Unused subs: Gallagher, Gawne, Maciulatis, Tennant.

Referee: Shane Andrews (Ballygowan)

Man of the match: Conor Devlin

Match rating: 8/10

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