Oran Kearney hoping impressive victory at Glentoran can act as Coleraine catalyst ahead of Cliftonville trip

Coleraine's Conor McKendry celebrates scoring the winning goal against Glentoran at The Oval, Belfast. PIC: INPHO Brian Little
Coleraine's Conor McKendry celebrates scoring the winning goal against Glentoran at The Oval, Belfast. PIC: INPHO Brian Little

The Bannsiders produced arguably their best performance of the season at The Oval on Friday with goals from Matthew Shevlin and Conor McKendry helping secure a 2-1 win against a Glens side that were sitting top of the table and hadn’t lost in seven games across competitions.

McKendry’s strike in particular was a real moment of magic as he cut in from the right-hand side before firing past Aaron McCarey.

"Conor is an enigma,” said Kearney of the former Ipswich Town youth product. “He would say that himself.

"Conor has that ability to do things that other people can't and I think he has progressed massively.

"There is more in him and I still think his numbers need to get better in relation to output, but we got that output (against Glentoran).

"The moment he steps onto the ball - I've seen it hundreds of times at training and for three seconds before I'm going 'goal, goal, goal' the whole way.

"He wants the best and he just has to keep working as hard as he can."

Coleraine are now hoping to build on consecutive victories having defeated Newry City 3-1 prior to their trip to east Belfast and Kearney believes he has a squad at his disposal that are capable of beating any team.

"I honestly believe we have the players to go and put performances in anywhere in the country, but there's no point talking about it,” he added. “There comes a point where we need that momentum swing or statement that allows you to take a step forward.

"Hopefully this (win) can be that step."

They are coming up against statistically the best defence in the Premiership with Cliftonville only conceding four times in their opening eight league fixtures under Jim Magilton.

The Reds backed up last Monday’s north Belfast Derby victory over Crusaders by easing past Ballymena at the Showgrounds on Saturday after in-form striker Ben Wilson netted a brace.

"It's about showing that intensity with and without the ball and defending our goal for our lives,” he said. “We've done that again.

"We set them up but it comes down to the attitude and application of the players and they deserve all the credit for that.

"We've very much a team still developing and it's certainly encouraging.

"From Monday night, the Ballymena result is another statement of intent.

"Last year they won at Larne and lost 4-1 at Ballymena.

"That can be in players' minds so hopefully this is another monkey off their back and show that we can get up for another game."

Former Northern Ireland international Magilton was impressed with Coleraine’s showing against Glentoran and feels they have threats all over the pitch.

"I thought they were fantastic,” he added. “They deserved to win the game and they carry massive threat with the ball and have lots of good players.

"We haven't been at home in a while so I'm looking forward to getting under the lights in front of our supporters.

"With all the players on show I'm sure it'll be a good game."