Experience is proving vital says Coleraine boss

Press Eye - Belfast -  Northern Ireland - 12th November 2016 - Photo by William Cherry

Coleraine's Jamie McGonigle celebrates scoring against Glentoran during Saturdays Danske Bank Premiership game at the Oval, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 12th November 2016 - Photo by William Cherry Coleraine's Jamie McGonigle celebrates scoring against Glentoran during Saturdays Danske Bank Premiership game at the Oval, Belfast. Photo by William Cherry/Presseye

Coleraine boss Oran Kearney feels the experience his young players have gained over the last two seasons is now paying dividends.

The Bannsiders produced an excellent display at The Oval on Saturday as they put Glentoran to the sword.

Jamie McGonigle’s second half strike was enough to give them the spoils.

If truth be told though they would have won the game by a more handsome margin but for an inspired showing by home goalkeeper Elliott Morris.

He produced several impressive saves to keep the rampant Bannsiders at bay, and keep the scoreline respectable for his side.

Speaking afterwards Kearney praised his young charges - there was seven players aged 21 or under in the starting line up - for the way they went about their job.

“The players are learning and they are learning by being on the pitch,” he told Times Sport.

“We have a group of young players who are reaching 80-odd starts, and they are starting to show that experience and the wee bits of naivety that they’ve had over the last couple of years is disappearing.

“It’s exciting and great to see. I just thought today to a man they were all fantastic, we’re just starting to hit that real good level of performance week in, week out.”

The Bannsiders boss has become used to watching Morris pull saves out of the bag in recent years, but he was relieved to see his side get their noses in front on Saturday.

“Elliott always seems to reserve his best performances for when he plays against us,” he said.

“Over the years I can count plenty of great saves that he’s produced against us, he showed today again why he’s one of the best in the league, three or four of his saves were top drawer.

“Thankfully we got our goal as we have been wasteful with a few chances today.

“It was a great goal, Darren showed great awareness and it was a fantastic run by Jamie he’s ruthless when he gets into those positions, the timing and the weight of the pass was brilliant too.

“Jamie was disappointed that he missed a couple of chances against Crusaders last week. I said to him through the week that he would go and put it right today and he did that.”

Kearney had to shuffle his pack going into the game at The Oval with central defenders David Ogilby and Gareth McConaghie both rules out alongside captain David Kee.

Adam Mullan slotted into the heart of the defence partnering veteran Steven Douglas and he produced an assured display.

Kearney feels that is where Mullan will play his football in the future and he certainly didn’t look out of place.

“It’s a long season and we’re carrying a few aches and pains and a couple of suspensions as well, but it brings opportunity.

“Some people may have been worried about us missing a couple of players today, but I can tell you there was two or three players who were rubbing their hands delighted they were getting a start so they can show what they are capable of.

“Neil McCafferty having been on the bench last week was fantastic today and really set the tone, and Adam stepped into centre half and produced the type of performance we know he’s capable of.”