“He’s OK… Hes Oran Kearney!”
The famous pre-match ritual on the Ballycastle Road before every home game is no more.
News broke on Friday afternoon that Kearney will be departing the Bannsiders for the Scottish top flight to take the reigns of newcomers St Mirren after the sacking of Alan Stubbs. The long serving Coleraine manager has signed a three-year deal with the Buddies.
Kearney was interviewed for the job during the summer, but lost out to former Hibs boss Stubbs. The Scouser departed the club last Monday following a dismal start to the season.
Oran’s first game in charge of the Buddies is an easy one when they host Celtic on Friday.
Kearney first took charge of Coleraine in 2011 and led the club to Irish Cup glory last season.
The former Linfield star now works as a PE teacher in the North Coast town of Ballycastle. Kearney will have to give up this position as he makes the transition to full-time football.
In what turned out to be his final season in charge he give the Bannsiders a year they would never forget. They pushed Crusaders right to the wire but narrowly lost out on the league. As a result, attentions turned to the Irish Cup final.
The Bannsiders made no mistake this year after a disappointing display in the 2017 showpiece. Kearney’s men defeated Cliftonville 3-1 and brought the Irish Cup back to Coleraine for the first time since 2003.
Kearney was in attendance at Coleraine’s fixture on Saturday in the Irn Bru cup to say his goodbyes to the Coleraine faithful. He spoke very highly of current chairman Colin McKendry for sticking by him through tricky times. He described Colin as his ‘rock’ and admitted that he ‘owed everything to him’.
There is no doubt that Kearney will be keeping his eye on a few players in the Irish League that could potentially make the move across to join him in the full-time game.
Coleraine will now turn their attentions to appointing Kearney’s successor.
A few names in the mix are Derry City manager Kenny Shiels (5/1) who, coincidentally, is Oran’s father in law. Another few that have been mentioned are Steve Lomas (5/1), Declan Devine (5/1) and David Jeffery (10/1).
We at Toals would like to wish Oran the very best of luck in his new job at St Mirren and for a successful first management job in the full-time game.
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