Wife of Coleraine FC manager Oran Kearney calls for end to 'vile sectarian abuse' and 'disgusting rumours'
At the weekend, Coleraine’s board issued a statement calling for club unity, and said they were “alarmed at the level of animosity” in the criticism of the Bannsiders’ boss.
Saturday’s 3-1 defeat by Loughgall marked a fourth consecutive Sports Direct Premiership loss for the team.
In a new twist on Sunday evening, Kearney’s wife Lauren used social media to hit out at those she claims have resorted to sectarianism as they vent their anger.
Lauren Kearney said “I get that everyone's entitled to their opinion & criticism is part of the job. What I can't accept is personal,vile,sectarian abuse towards my family, especially my kids. Some of the abuse and disgusting rumours being spread are abhorrent! Thanks to those that have shown support.”
One of those expressing their support in response to Lauren’s message was NI football statistician Marshall Gillespie who said: “What is wrong with the world! I get it that people can be passionate about their club, but there is absolutely no need to direct personal abuse towards individuals.”
Coleraine FC has not yet commented on the ‘sectarian abuse’ claim.
In a statement on Saturday night, the club’s board of directors reaffirmed its faith in the 45-year-old Ballymoney man and his backroom team as “best placed to lead us forward into the new year and beyond”.
The statement said: "The Board of Coleraine FC acknowledges recent first team results have been disappointing, even with a number of complicating factors impacting the team.
"However, for over 12 seasons Oran has been central to our club’s journey, kick-starting football careers and providing collective success to the town and surrounding community.
The statement adds: "Whilst results on the pitch have been disappointing, we have been alarmed by the level of animosity directed at Oran and the team, particularly on social media by a small minority of supporters. We continue to believe that the current management team are best placed to lead us forward into the new year and beyond”.
Responding to the club statement, Larne FC majority shareholder Kenny Bruce said: “Magnificent statement. Success is all about people & Coleraine have top class people at the helm.”
Also on social media, BBC broadcaster Joel Taggart said: “Oran Kearney in his last 7 seasons, 7 top 6 finishes, 4 of those top 3. Reached last 3 Bet McLean cup finals and prior to that reached back to back Irish Cup finals. Be careful what you wish for.”
This is Kearney’s second stint as Coleraine manager following his departure from St Mirren in June 2019, having saved the Scottish Premiership team from relegation with a play-off win over Dundee United.
Following a statement from St Mirren confirming Kearney had left by “mutual consent” after one season, he said he was proud of the club’s “turnaround” under his management – praising both wife Lauren for her “relentless support” and the St Mirren fans for their “faith and backing”.
"I'm very proud of the job I did and the turnaround I made, just sad not to see it through,” he said at the time.