Sports

Swifts aim to reign over Windsor men and reach Irish Cup final

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

DUNGANNON Swifts manager Rodney McAree says his players have to "realise the opportunity" they have to reach an Irish Cup final and give it everything they have to upset Linfield in this weekend's Irish Cup semi final clash.
The Swifts are aiming to reach only their second ever Irish Cup final, which ironically was against Linfield, 10 years after their first.
David Healy's in form Linfield side come into the tie on the back of having narrowed what had seemed to be unassailable lead at the top of the Premiership to just four points with the sides due to meet next.
And while Rodney readily admits his side are underdogs, he says they won't be going to Mourneview Park this Saturday just to make up the numbers.
Speaking to the Courier, Rodney said: "It's a massive opportunity. We are only one game away from an Irish Cup final.
“What stands between us and the cup final is a Linfield side which has done extremely well this season, particularly since the turn of the year.
“It's a very difficult hurdle to get over, but it's a cup tie and there are surprises in the cup and hopefully we can spring a surprise.
“We have to realise the opportunity that we have and we have to make sure if we don't win that we'll not go down without a fight."
The other last four clash sees Glenavon take on Linfield at the Ballymena Showgrounds, which will be played after the Swifts' meeting with Linfield.
And Rodney says his side has "the toughest draw we could have got" but admitted that up to this point the draw "has been relatively kind to us".
So far on their cup run the Swifts haven't met Premiership opposition, having seen off Championship side Dergivew, Mid-Ulster League club Dollingston and Championship leaders Warrenpoint Town.
Linfield, meanwhile, have disposed of the challenges of Glentoran, Institute and Crusaders en route to the last four.
Last season, Linfield reached the final, only to be beaten on their home patch at Windsor Park by Glenavon.
And Rodney has called for a big travelling support to make their way down to the home of the Irish Cup holders, Lurgan's Mourneview Park, this weekend.
“We are looking for the supporters and the community and everyone associated with Dungannon Swifts to come out and give us a vocal support."
There are still some tickets available at the club shop and online from Ticketmaster, if you are able to go.
Rodney was a player when the Swifts made their only appearance in the Irish Cup final to date, but says this would mean even more to him.
“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.
“For me to be involved with a cup final with Dungannon Swifts would be special.
“It's not going to be easy, but it would be great for the players and everyone around the club if we were to go a step further and make the final."
* Kick off for Saturday's Irish Cup semi final clash with Linfield at Mourneview Park, Lurgan, is at 3pm.

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