Oran Kearney admits it was a tough decision to release Eoin Bradley

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Oran Kearney has paid tribute to striker Eoin Bradley following his release from Coleraine.

The Bannsiders boss admitted it was “a tough decision” to call time on the 38-year-old’s time at The Showgrounds.

Kearney pointed to the impact made by Bradley over two spells with Coleraine, and admitted it was a mistake to let him go to Glenavon back in 2014.

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“Skinner has absolutely been a great servant to Coleraine FC,” he said.

Eoin Bradley's time at Coleraine looks to be overEoin Bradley's time at Coleraine looks to be over
Eoin Bradley's time at Coleraine looks to be over

“I’ve openly admitted to him and others that it was my mistake to let him go back in 2014, but across his two spells, he has been outstanding.

“The second spell in particular, I remember he was signed alongside Ciaron Harkin and it seemed to light a switch as we went on a serious run and he has been a massive part of our success.

“In recent years, we have won the Irish Cup, League Cup, finished runners-up and had some memorable games in Europe and Skinner has been at the forefront of that both on and off the pitch.

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“It was a really tough decision and the biggest compliment I can give to him is that there wouldn’t be so much mulling over another player at his age to push and go again.

“The term club legend is used very easily but when you factor in the success we have had in recent years, you can’t deny that Skinner has been a big part of that.

“He has had many big moments in a Coleraine shirt and will be fondly remembered for ‘that’ goal in the Irish Cup final.

“A huge personality both on and off the pitch, Skinner will always be welcome to the Coleraine Showgrounds.”

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‘Skinner’ made over 200 appearances for the Bannsiders over two spells, posted a message on his Twitter page on Wednesday morning saying his goodbyes to the club.

"Sometimes in football things happen that are out of your control," he tweeted.

"Would just like to thank all the players board coaches and the fans at @ColeraineFC for my time there.

"I have made memories and friends that will last a lifetime. Thanks."

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Bradley, who also has a distinguished GAA career, joined Coleraine in 2013 and quickly became a fans' favourite.

After netting 12 goals in 27 games for Kearney's side a move to Glenavon came about in 2014.

Bradley formed an effective forward partnership with fellow summer arrival Kevin Braniff as the Lurgan Blues finished third in the Premiership.

Further success was to follow in the 2015-16 season, with Bradley scoring 17 goals in the league and Glenavon once again claiming the Irish Cup.

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He was to return to Coleraine in January 2017 and helped the Bannsiders reach the Irish Cup final that season, where they lost to Linfield.

The following season though 'Skinner' wrote himself into the Coleraine history books as he scored the third goal in the 3-1 win over Cliftonville as the Bannsiders lifted the Irish Cup for the first time since 2003.

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