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Global interest in Coleraine job but chairman has 'gut feeling' on next appointment

By Steve Jones ·

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Best wishes: Oran Kearney joins son Luca and daughter Ava in saying goodbye to Coleraine fans

Coleraine chairman Colin McKendry revealed he has received worldwide interest in the vacant managerial role after Oran Kearney's appointment at St Mirren.

The Bannsiders said farewell to Kearney on Saturday night after their penalty shoot-out defeat of Formartine United in the Irn Bru Challenge Cup.

Speculation has linked the likes of Kenny Shiels and Steve Lomas to the post, but McKendry insisted the club will take their time to appoint the right man.

"We will be putting on our website this morning expressions of interest in the job and there have been a number of enquiries to date and my phone hasn't stopped," he said.

"There have been a number of enquiries from America, Iceland, France, England - it's been phenomenal. This club is now sitting in a great foundation and is a very attractive proposition for a proven manager who wants to get to the next level.

"We will certainly move on and the decision won't be taken lightly. The one thing I can tell you is that the backroom staff will remain the same and the structures won't change.

"People who will help choose the next appointment will be the backroom staff, the board of directors, two independent personnel who I trust enormously and senior pros at the club."

He added: "There's a gut feeling about who we want to appoint and it was the same with Oran."

Kearney was given a guard of honour at The Showgrounds on Saturday night and he admits he is excited about the challenges ahead.

"It's been an absolute tornado, just surreal," he said. "Coming home on the bus on Monday night after the Crusaders game, I was on top of the world with the result and going top of the league.

"I was probably feeling like us all, that we hadn't hit the heights of last season just yet by our own standards, but we were up and running now and we could go and have another real big crack at it.

"The thought of standing here now conducting this interview feels like an outer-body experience.

"It has been a crazy week on all fronts, in family, school and football, but a brilliant week.

"When you go over there and look at the training ground and the stadium it's brilliant, and really exciting."

The former Linfield ace believes whoever replaces him will be joining one of the top clubs in the country and is proud of his achievements during his seven-and-a-half-year stint at the Ballycastle Road.

"The one thing you want to do in life and your job is to leave the place in a better place than you found it," he said.

"When I arrived here, the budget had been cut again and I look at what I've left I'm as proud as punch. It's a hell of a squad, it's a hell of a team and it's a hell of a club.

"There's not one player in there that isn't mine. I do take great credit for it and I'm delighted to take great credit for it because I'm immensely proud of it.

"It speaks volumes for me and Coleraine and I suppose that's why I'm in the scenario I'm in now."

On the pitch, Archie MacPhee had given the Highland League side the lead, before Josh Carson levelled with an unstoppable volley.

Eoin Bradley would miss a first half penalty before a second period was filled with half-chances as the game ended in a draw. The first FIVE spot-kicks were missed before Gareth McConaghie and Bradley found the net, with Conor Gethins missing the decisive kick to send Coleraine through.

Eoin Bradley would miss a first half penalty before a second period was filled with half-chances as the game ended in a draw. The first FIVE spot-kicks were missed before Gareth McConaghie and Bradley found the net, with Conor Gethins missing the decisive kick to send Coleraine through.

Formartine boss Paul Lawson was proud despite defeat.

"I guess penalties are a lottery and it's disappointing to be on the losing end, but you can't expect to go through if you miss three penalties," he said.

"In terms of the performance it's not one that we're used to because we're usually the dominant side in our league, so we had to adapt our game a wee bit so I'm pleased with how our boys carried that out."

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Best wishes: Oran Kearney joins son Luca and daughter Ava in saying goodbye to Coleraine fans