ORAN Kearney was quick to praise his team’s character after they fought back to grab a last-gasp victory over Glenavon at The Showgrounds on Saturday.
Stephen Carson struck in stoppage time to grab all three points in a five-goal thriller against the Lurgan Blues in some horrendous weather conditions.
Eoin Bradley was the real star of the show for the Bannsiders. The Derry GAA star had a hand in all three goals - scoring one - helping his side to a much needed win.
“I thought we played really well in the first half and probably deserved to go in at the break 1-0 up, but to be fair to Glenavon they came out well in the second half and put us under pressure and deserved to score their goals,” Kearney told Times Sport after the game.
“The conditions made it difficult and we just couldn’t get out of our half at times with the breeze.
“But I have to give our lads the credit because they have been through an awful lot over the last few weeks and more than anything they’ve a lot of mental baggage to carry around.
“To go 2-1 down today after being 1-0 up the easiest thing would have been to throw the towel in. But credit to them they’ve clawed their way back in to the game again with a great goal from Eoin Bradley and then Stephen Carson pops up with the winner right at the death.
“When Eoin levelled it was never really in my mind to settle for a point because this league is crazy, we’ve been hit by late sucker punches ourselves in the past and you know anything can happen in the closing stages.
“When there’s 10 minutes to go and it’s all square it’s there for the taking.
“I’m delighted for Stephen Carson. He’s had a tough start since coming back here and it’s lovely for him to step up today and grab the winner for us.”
Bradley set up Gareth Tommons who gave the hosts a first half lead. But a double by Ciaran Martyn looked to have sank the Bannsiders hopes of a win as the rain lashed down.
But up stepped Bradley to head home the equaliser before playing his part in Stephen Carson’s stoppage time winner to give Kearney’s men their first win in four games.
The Bannsiders boss though felt last week’s game at Ballinamallard was the real turning point.
“Last Saturday’s draw at Ballinamallard was a season defining moment for us,” he said.
“People say you need a win to do that, or that it takes a win to galvanise you so you can kick on.
“Last week’s performance showed me what I already knew anyway that I have a great bunch of lads here and if they play like that every week then we’ll win more than we’ll lose.
“Our performance today maybe didn’t hit the heights of last week, and Glenavon had a large period of domination in the second half, but we have a lot of good characters and good players here and I think we deserved to get that late winner today.”
Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton though was disappointed his side came away with nothing to show for their endeavours.
“It’s a difficult one to explain. I thought for about 75-80 minutes we were the better team.
“The first half was even enough, but I felt we dominated the second half.”