Belfast Telegraph

Darren Murphy desires a swift journey on glory trail

By Adrian Rutherford

Dungannon Swifts manager Darren Murphy is hoping an Irish Cup run can lift the gloom around Stangmore Park.

So far it has been a season of struggle for Dungannon, who have won just four league games all term.

Tomorrow the Tyrone side have a chance to put their league woes to one side as they kick off their bid for glory against Ballinamallard United.

Two weeks after meeting in the league, the teams face off again, this time with a place in the last 16 of the cup at stake.

Dungannon have a decent record in the competition in recent seasons.

Beaten finalists in 2007, they reached the semi-finals in 2012 and quarter-finals last year.

And while Premiership survival is the priority in 2015, Murphy believes a good cup run can be a confidence booster.

"I have fond memories of the Irish Cup as a player," said Murphy, a cup winner during his time at Linfield.

"It's a competition that I've always enjoyed being involved in. I want us to go as far as we can in it.

"A cup run is great because it gives everyone around the club a lift. We've been to a final and a semi-final in recent years, and hopefully we can have another good go at it this year."

However, Murphy admits the draw could have been kinder to his side.

Ballinamallard are cup specialists, having reached the semi-finals of the League Cup already this season. And the Fermanagh side will be out for revenge after losing the Boxing Day league meeting.

"I could have picked an easier game to start with," added Murphy.

"It could also have been more difficult, but when you look at the fact that there are 12 teams in the Premiership, only four of us are involved in all-Premier ties.

"The other eight are able to get Championship 1 or Championship 2 ties."

Coleraine's appeal against a three-point deduction for fielding suspended player Ruairi Harkin in a Premiership fixture has failed.

Harkin appeared in Coleraine's 4-0 win on November 1 when he should have been serving a one-match ban. Coleraine had argued they had not been told when the suspension was effective.

However, they have accepted the verdict and, although they will stay in seventh place, Coleraine will now be six points behind sixth-placed Glenavon.

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