Hes OK.. Hes Oran Kearney! The famous pre match ritual on the Ballycastle road before every home game. The news broke on Friday afternoon that Oran 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 SPFL newcomers St Mirren. After being interviewed for the job during the summer, but lost out to former Hibs boss Alan Stubbs. The scouser departed the club last Monday following a dismal start to the season. Oran first took charge of coleraine back in 2011 and last season led the club to Irish Cup glory and a second place finish in the league.
The former Linfield star now works as a PE teacher in the North Coast town of Ballycastle. Oran will have to give up this position as he makes the transition to full time football across the Irish Sea. What turned out to be his final season in charge last year he give the Bannsiders a season they would never forget. After pushing Crusaders right to the wire and loosing out on the league attentions turned to the Irish Cup final. The Bannsiders made no mistake in the final this year after a disappointing display in the 2017 final. Kearneys men went on to defeat Cliftonville 3-1 and bring the Irish Cup back to Coleraine for the first time in 15 years.
Oran was in attendance at Coleraine’s fixture on Saturday in the Irn Bru cup to say his goodbyes to the Coleraine faithful. Oran spoke very highly of current chairman Colin McKendry for sticking by him through sticky times describing Colin as his ‘rock’ and that he ‘owed everything to him’. Oran’s first game in charge of the buddies comes this Friday night and is an easy one where they host Celtic at St Mirren park. These are the types of games big Oran will need to win if he is to deliver that ‘league title’. There is no doubt that Oran 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 Oran’s successor who is capable of keeping the momentum going. A few names that have been in the mix are Kenny Shiels the current manager of Derry City and of course Oran’s father in law. Another few that have been rumored are Steve Lomas, Declan Devine and David Jeffery.
We here 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.