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A Bann-tastic day

Thursday, 10 May 2018

A Bann-tastic day thumbnailColeraine goalscorer Darren McCauley sinks to his knees after opening the scoring in Saturdayís Tennentís Irish Cup final against Cliftonville. It was a goal good enough to grace any game.

TWELVE months after one of the worst days of his footballing life, Coleraine manager Oran Kearney enjoyed one of his best on Saturday.
And, boy, how he enjoyed it.
Normally a paradigm of restraint, we saw a different side to the schoolteacher at the weekend as he guided his young side to a first trophy of his seven years in charge.
His charge down the touchline and then on to the pitch in the wake of Eoin Bradley's goal in the dying seconds will live long in the memory and encapsulated the relief felt by all Bannsiders in the National Stadium.
It was a special moment on a special day, a day when Coleraine won more than just a sixth Irish Cup.
In defeating Cliftonville, in exorcising the ghosts of last year and by the way they have conducted themselves all season, they have won a new-found respect.
Opposition managers, fans, yes, even from Ballymena Utd, have spoken warmly about the club, the team and its manager and the way in which the chairman, Colin McKendry, allowed his manager the time to develop his plan for the future.
We who watch the team on a regular basis have seen the shoots of that plan being planted; on Saturday, they bloomed, Coleraine claiming one of the biggest prizes in the game on the biggest day in the local football calendar.
It was no less than they deserved as the Bannsiders matched their Cliftonville opponents in a tight and tense first half before enforcing their superiority after half-time.

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