Wednesday, 5 April 2017

RODNEY’S PRIDE AFTER CUP EXIT thumbnailDungannon Swifts’ players applaud the fans after their last gasp defeat to Linfield in Saturday’s Irish Cup semi final.

DUNGANNON Swifts manager Rodney McAree stressed his pride at the efforts of his players after they went down 1-0 to Linfield in heartbreaking fashion in the Irish Cup semi final.

It took an 89th minute winner from Stephen Lowry to see off the determined challenge of the Dungannon men.

Speaking to the Courier, post match, Rodney said he was proud of each and every player who took the field on Saturday.

He said: "I'm proud of every single one of them. We came here and knew it was going to be extremely difficult but we wanted to make sure we pushed Linfield as far as we could. Unfortunately we didn't hold out until extra time.

"We went in at half time, we were very pleased with the performance in the first half. I thought we showed composure and got our foot on the ball.

"We defended very well and defended set pieces very well which we hadn't done previously against Linfield. We came out in the second half and expected to be under pressure from Linfield, which we were for the first 20 or 25 minutes but I actually thought in the last 15 minutes or so we came into it and started to get a wee bit more joy.

"We had a couple of opportunities, I don't think either goalkeeper had an awful pile of saves to make."

Linfield came out at the start of the second half in determined fashion and won a penalty inside eight minutes of the restart, but Andy Coleman proved himself a hero and saved the spot kick from Lowry, the man who would go on to bag the winner.

And, after seeing his goalkeeper make the save, Rodney though that things might just swing their way.

However, it was not to be.

"I thought maybe after the penalty save it was going to be our day.

"You have to have a little bit of luck in cup games. We unfortunately haven't had that. Dougie Wilson has a great shot which takes a deflection and goes narrowly wide, if it doesn't take that deflection it probably ends up in the back of the net, but it's all ifs buts and maybes."


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