IRISH LEAGUE: Kearney wants a happy New Year

Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press
Coleraine manager Oran Kearney. Photo Aidan O'Reilly/Pacemaker Press

Coleraine were left kicking their heels in frustration on New Year’s Day after their much-anticipated clash with Linfield fell foul of the weather.

A pitch inspection on Monday morning led to the game being postponed due to the pitch being deemed unplayable.

With the Bannsiders inactive, it gave Crusaders the opportunity to leapfrog Oran Kearney’s side at the top of the Danske Bank Premiership as they saw off Ballinamallard United on Monday afternoon.

However, Kearney insists his squad aims to remain challenging for their first Gibson Cup since 1974.

“Next month I’ll be manager of Coleraine for seven years and this season has been the easiest, most enjoyable season to date as boss,” Kearney said.

“Since August everything has felt like a dream.

“The boys have been brilliant this year. With the run we have been on, the results, the position in the table, the hype, the euphoria and the fans, it has just been brilliant.

“I keep encouraging the players to ride the wave and let’s stay up there.

“It’s been brilliant but we want to keep driving on.”

With the January transfer window now open Kearney is looking to bolster his squad. He has already brought in Stephen Dooley from Cork City and is hopeful the forward will receive his international clearance in time to make his debut against Lisburn Distillery in the Irish Cup this Saturday.

“We have to register Stephen on Monday and then wait for international clearance,” Kearney added.

“In an ideal world, he will be ready for the Irish Cup tie on Saturday against Lisburn Distillery.

“Aside from that, there are no potential incomings at the minute.

“We are low on numbers at this moment in time, but we’re happy with the quality we have.

“The January window has always been a good one for me, we generally do good business and we’ll keep our eyes open.”

Meanwhile, Glebe Rangers are relishing their trip to Windsor Park this Saturday to take on Irish Cup holders Linfield.

The Ballymoney club were beaten 5-0 by Linfield in a League Cup match at Windsor Park two seasons ago and manager Jason Wilmont says his players are eagerly awaiting their return to the National Stadium.

“That was a brilliant occasion for the players and it will be an even better one in January because the stadium is now finished,” said the Glebe Rangers boss.

“We’ll just try and contain them as much as we can. We’ll give it our best shot.”