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Shiels and Kearney new Coleraine roles confirmed

Dean Shiels and Oran Kearney
Dean Shiels managed Dungannon Swifts but joined Oran Kearney's backroom team in April [BBC]

Oran Kearney's move to the role of Coleraine sporting director with Dean Shiels assuming the head coach's position have been confirmed.

The expected Coleraine announcement is being described by the club as a "significant restructuring within the coaching and management team".

"Oran’s wealth of experience and deep understanding of the club's ethos make him the ideal person for the sporting director role, where he will oversee the broader football strategy and player recruitment," said a Coleraine statement on Friday.

"Dean Shiels, a well-respected figure in football with a strong coaching pedigree, will bring fresh perspectives and new energy to the team," the club added.

Kearney believes the restructuring will enable the club to progress.

“The easiest thing for me to do would be to remain part-time, but it’s not about Oran Kearney; it’s about Coleraine Football Club," said Kearney.

"Coleraine needs to go to the next level, and for me, it's about facilitating and making sure that step can happen.”

'This is a powerful club to stop'

Shiels joined Coleraine as first-team coach in April after a spell as Dungannon Swifts manager ended in June 2023.

He managed the Swifts in the top flight for more than two years, as well as being assistant to his father Kenny, when he was in charge of the Northern Ireland Women's team.

"With the board, the new owners, the fans, the players, and the staff we are putting together, there has to be a togetherness," said Shiels.

"With everyone pulling in one direction, this is a powerful club to stop, and it will become successful.”

Coleraine chief executive Simon Magee said the club felt the time was right to opt for the restructure.

"We felt Oran had the expertise in that [sporting director] area, having the experience and contacts from his time in Scotland," said Magee.

"Then we saw the massive impact Dean has had in the last weeks of the campaign, the buzz he has for coaching, and the response he’s had from the current players."

Kearney, 45, has been manager of the Bannsiders since 2019 after returning from a stint managing Scottish side St Mirren.

His first period at the helm of the Irish Premiership side saw him take charge at the Ballycastle Road club from 2011 until 2018, when he led his side to Irish Cup success.

Coleraine finished sixth in the 2023-24 league campaign, beating Glentoran in the Europa Conference League play-off semi-finals, before losing to Crusaders in the final.

Coleraine were taken over by London-based businessmen Ranald McGregor-Smith and Patrick Mitchell in February.

In an interview with BBC Sport NI at the time of the takeover, the pair said they had ambitions to be a full-time professional club, adding that they “would like a number of players to be on a full-time model” in this coming season.