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Coleraine Always Looking to ‘find a Way’ of Competing With Full-time Teams

Oran Kearney believes the finances and full-time football at other clubs in the Irish League makes things tougher but Coleraine simply have ‘to find a way’ in order to compete.

The Bannsiders know they can no longer finish higher than sixth in the Premiership standings for a second year running after previously finishing runners-up three times in a four year period between 2017-18 to 2020-21.

Clubs such as Linfield, Larne and Glentoran have adopted a full-time model since then, with the latter two sides having been the beneficiaries of outside investment.

Those aforementioned three clubs currently occupy top three berths in the Premiership standings and Kearney remarked that it’s going to take a monumental effort to dislodge those sides in the years ahead.

“I look back to 2018 where we lost the league after finishing with 89 points and you need a serious amount of wins to accrue that again.

“The ability for us, realistically now with the way the league lies, it makes it really tough.

“It’s a credit to Larne as they’ve been the best and most consistent team this season and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but the full-time teams are only going to get fitter, stronger and it’ll only get tougher for clubs like us.

“However, I keep saying it to everyone at board level that we’ve got to keep trying to find a way to be in and around these teams and as close to them as possible.

“You’re trying to be perfect on a Saturday and you almost need to be perfect to get results to try and stay in that mix because of where the standard is at.”

Kearney’s boys travel to east Belfast and take on a Glentoran side this afternoon who still have an outside chance of finishing second and earning automatic European qualification.

The Bannsiders boss outlined that whilst his side took points off champions Larne, they failed to ‘polish up’ results against other clubs in the division.

“Finances obviously play a huge part of it,” Kearney said of the challenges for part-time teams.

“When you’re in negotiations with players, the wages and all of those aspects are one of the main talking points alongside football and everything else.

“If both match up you then have a deal, but of course, it has an impact and plays a part.

“I’m here for 12 years now and we’ve managed to build something and find a way of remaining competitive.

“The key thing is we have to keep doing that and finding different ways of being able to do that.

“Yes, Larne have won the league this year but we beat them once, drew with them once and they won the other.

“There’s our benchmark in relation to how we’ve performed against the champions this year.

“For a part-time team we’ve got to be happy enough with that outlay against the champions.

“The key thing is that there’s been other games where we’ve possibly dropped points that’s hurt us and it’s important we polish up on that aspect.”

Source: newsletter