Sports

Irish Cup final spot the ‘dream’ for Swifts boss

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Irish Cup final spot the ‘dream’ for Swifts boss thumbnailDougie Wilson celebrates scoring the winner in the Irish Cup quarter final against Warrenpoint Town on Saturday. See more on page 61. SC10321

DUNGANNON Swifts manager Rodney McAree is hopeful he can make a dream come true by winning through to the Irish Cup final.
The Stangmore men have been paired with Irish league giants Linfield in the last four.
And while Rodney stated he appreciates the scale of the task ahead, he believes they are capable of making their way through.
Dungannon Swifts' only Irish Cup final appearance to date was 10 years ago, when Rodney was a player, scoring in the final and in the penalty shootout.
The Swifts ultimately lost 3-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw in 120 minutes of action.
Rodney led the side out on that day as captain but says it would mean even more to do it a decade on as a manager.
"It's one to look forward to, if you get to the semi final you don't care who you get, it's always going to be very difficult.
"It's probably the toughest draw in terms of where they are in the league and the experience they have of semi finals and finals but we'll look forward to it.
"We'll enjoy this win first and foremost but then we'll look to Linfield when the time comes and we'll enjoy that occasion.
"It would be a dream from my point of view as manager of Dungannon Swifts, a club I've grown up at, to lead Dungannon Swifts out at Windsor Park.
"I was very fortunate to do it as a player. I think I would enjoy it more going as a manager but we have a huge obstacle to get over before we can even think of that.
"Is it one that we can win? We have to be positive and think we have a chance. We have to try to set ourselves up and cause them problems."
With the dream of an Irish Cup final appearance to strive for, it would be easy and perhaps understandable if they took their eye off the league.
However, that would be dangerous as Glentoran are close behind the Swifts, who currently sit in seventh, the last European play-off spot.
And the Swifts are not too far behind sixth placed Glenavon, and face the Lurgan men this weekend in a potentially crucial top six decider at Mourneview Park.
With so much still to play for this season, Rodney says it is changed times from much of the past decade.
"For Dungannon Swifts to be in the position they're in, in terms of the league and to still be in the cup, is super for everyone involved with the club.
"We're always looking over our shoulder at this time of the season; this year we are sitting in seventh. We still mathematically have a chance of finishing in the top six.
"If we get a positive result next week you never know and we also have that seventh spot we're fighting for as well, so to be in that position is fantastic for the club.
"It means going into the last few weeks of the season and gives you something to look forward to."

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