40-year-old Oran Kearney is back at the helm at Coleraine after a 9 month spell in charge of Scottish Premier League outfit St.Mirren’s.
He replaced Alan Stubbs at the start of last season on a three year contract and managed to safely stave off relegation to the Scottish Championship with a play-off win over Dundee United. He oversaw a nil all draw with champions Celtic in his first match and steered his squad to an eight-match unbeaten run to end the season.
It is rumoured he fell out with club chairman Gordon Scott over his plans to continue commuting back and forward from Scotland to Northern Ireland to see his family.
A short statement on the club’s website read: “The board can confirm that Oran Kearney has left the Club by mutual consent.”The club wish to thank Oran for his time in charge and wish him every success in the future.”
St.Mirren’s loss is Coleraine’s gain and it was announced yesterday that Kearney will return to manage the club on a two year contract. After vying for the Premiership league title against Crusaders in the 2017/2018 season, Kearney’s side just fell short of lifting the Gibson Cup on the last day of the season after drawing with Glenavon in their final match. They lost just one match that season in the Danske Bank Premiership and this earned serious respect for the Derry side after pushing league giants Crusaders right to the brink. Kearney’s side showed great resilience and picked themselves up to face Cliftonville in the final of the Irish Cup the week after losing the Premiership title race.
Kearney spoke honestly to the media saying; “It was a huge disappointment (to leave St Mirren) and the past couple of weeks have been tough, but I learned a huge amount in Scotland,” he said.
“As much as there were tough and testing times, it was character building and a brilliant experience which will hold me in great stead. “It has been a tough couple of weeks, but as a good friend said before ‘when you stop hurting, you start fighting again’.
On his return to the Showgrounds he said; “I am coming back to Coleraine a better manager and I was hugely proud to keep St Mirren in a league of that quality with just one transfer window to work within.”
“I believe the trials and tribulations I went through were worth five or six years as a manager and it was a brilliant experience to have in my locker.”
Coleraine, managed by Rodney McAree last season finished in 6th place last and missed out a European football pay day but hopefully Kearney’s return armed with more experience will see the squad in a good contention for the Premiership title race next season.
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