Belfast Telegraph

Watch: We want to bring the Irish Cup up the road, says Coleraine boss Kearney

By Gareth Hanna

When Oran Kearney's head hits the pillow tonight, he'd be forgiven for having a sleepless night filled with thoughts of tomorrow's Irish Cup final.

Perhaps if the Bannsiders boss does drift over, his sleep will turn to dreams of driving the Irish Cup past the blue and white flags lining the Ballycastle Road to the Coleraine Showgrounds.

In his seven years at the club, Kearney's yet to land a major trophy. But he's never been closer than this season.

Coleraine's thrilling Danske Bank Premiership run ended as runners-up last weekend but it was a campaign that united a town behind their team.

Now Kearney is desperate to land the club's sixth Irish Cup title for those supporters.

"The flags are flying down Ballycastle Road and a lot of the shops have got involved with competitions and painting shop windows," he said.

"It's been brilliant, seeing the whole town come together to support the club.

"We'll have easily 6,000 fans on Saturday and that's testament to the good work going on in the area.

"We want to bring the trophy down the road and we want everybody to enjoy what we weren't able to do last year."

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Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Pic Pacemaker Press

Coleraine, of course, were beaten 3-0 by a rampant Linfield in last year's decider but that's an experience that the boss is hoping will stand to his side come Saturday afternoon.

"It has fired us on for most of this season," he said. "We've used what happened last year as a dynamo for big parts of the season.

"It's definitely something that we want to put right and we're glad to be back to have another go at it.

"The new (Windsor Park) stadium and the atmosphere last year were things that very few people have seen at this level of football.

"Linfield coped with it better but having been through that experience, it will stand us in good stead on Saturday."

And as for a hangover from such an ultimately heart-breaking league campaign, the boss now knows there will be only fresh heads in blue and white on Saturday afternoon

He said: "There's a huge amount of disappointment that followed Saturday but in saying that, we have to quash it quickly and move on.

"There's always that worry about how the players will respond but I got my answers to that at training on Tuesday night. The body language when they arrived through the door and the way they trained was fantastic. I know they're primed and ready to go."

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