Belfast Telegraph

Kearney flattered by NI link as Bannsiders run continues

Coleraine 4 Glenavon 0

Treble yell: James McLaughlin celebrates his hat-trick
Treble yell: James McLaughlin celebrates his hat-trick

By Steve Jones

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney admits it is "surreal" to be linked with the Northern Ireland job after watching his side defeat Glenavon to remain at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership.

A hat-trick from James McLaughlin and a penalty from Ben Doherty eased the Bannsiders to all three points, however the scoreline was harsh on the Lurgan Blues who were impressive in the opening 45 minutes.

After enjoying a large spell of possession and hitting the crossbar, the Lurgan Blues trailed 2-0 at the break and were on a receiving end of a controversial red card given to Daniel Larmour for a foul on McLaughlin, who netted twice in the first-half.

The game was over as a contest on 63 minutes when McLaughlin scored his third, before Doherty netted his 13th goal of the season after Eoin Bradley was upended inside the box.

On the speculation that he is a potential candidate to replace Michael O'Neill as Northern Ireland manager, Kearney insists he is happy at The Showgrounds.

"It's the first I've heard, it's speculation and that's all it is at this point in time," he added.

"I don't have an agent and I'm not out there looking for anything. I worried a lot this week, but it was about getting three points against Glenavon.

Sign In

"It's a bit surreal to be mentioned as a contender for the Northern Ireland job, but it's nice that the work that we are doing here is being recognised, and people are standing up and taking notice of it. Any publicity for us and the club as a whole is good publicity.

"I always say be wary of the wounded tiger because I felt Glenavon are in a place at the minute where it's not a true reflection of the team, and you know the reaction is going to come sooner than later.

"To be fair to them, in the first half they gave as good as they got.

"We got our goal but we still didn't look comfortable. The sending off obviously has an impact on the game, and then we got the second before half time which makes things a bit easier.

"It was still a bit frustrating in the second half. You don't want to be too hard on people but you want to maintain a standard.

"I thought we were sloppy at times and at times it wasn't our best performance.

"We are in a results business though and the key thing is it's another clean sheet and it's another three points."

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton believes Larmour's red card cost him team "massively" as they made it four games without a win in all competitions.

"I am disappointed and in quite a few people's opinions a decision has cost us massively," he said.

"I thought we were well in the game, well on top, Coleraine only really had a corner which we scored ourselves for them.

"Up until the sending off we were doing really well and I know Oran said to me after the game that the sending off changed the game and I totally agree with that."

COLERAINE: Johns, Kane, Canning, Douglas, Jarvis (Parkhill '69 mins), Doherty, Lowry, McLaughlin (Maciulaitis '69 mins), Bradley (McGuckin '78 mins), Glackin, Traynor.

Subs Not Used: Gallagher (GK), McConaghie, Gawne, Whiteside.

GLENAVON: Taylor, Larmour, Burns, Marron, Doyle, (Wearen '64 mins), Marshall, Mitchell, Harmon, Beggs (McCloskey '62 mins), Garrett (Daniels '72 mins), Jenkins.

Subs Not Used: Barr, Murray, Hunter, Hamilton.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge)

Man of the match: James McLaughlin

Match Rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph