Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Dungannon Swifts 1 Coleraine 0

Not even the most supreme optimist among the Stangmore faithful would go quite so far as to say the bookies got it completely wrong.

They all accept that the Gibson Cup won't be heading to Dungannon, but the Swifts fans know their team has proved the odds layers were uncharacteristically wide of the mark.

Before a ball was kicked, the Tyrone men were branded whipping boys at 400/1 to win the title.

Four games in they are perched clear at the top with a 100 per cent record and a considerably slimmed down 66/1 to be in the top spot come the start of May.

Ryan McIlmoyle was the goalscoring hero for Dixie Robinson’s men in this latest success.

His second goal for the club came via a side-footed finish on a superb Marc McCann cross 28 seconds into the second half, just reward for a side that had dominated the opening half but failed to turn that possession into scores.

They had further chances, with Mickey Ward and McCann going close, but a third 1-0 scoreline was enough to bank the points once again.

Coleraine created openings too, before and after the Dungannon goal, but an impressive display of goalkeeping from Alvin Rouse always had the better of the visiting attack. A third clean sheet was the highlight of another good day’s work from Dungannon.

The modest 27-year-old was delighted with his performance but it was just one part of a good team effort.

“I wouldn’t say it was my best game ever for Dungannon, but it was certainly up there for sure. Coleraine are a good side and had chances throughout the match,” said the big keeper.

“I was delighted that I kept them out before we scored. Then, after we took the lead, I expected them to up their work rate in search of an equaliser.

“They did that but I just kept my concentration so that, whenever they did get in on goal, I was ready for them.

“It also helped that we kept our efforts high in search of a second goal, as sometimes attacking is the best form of defence.”

And Rouse, a Barbados international, insists that this early form is not a going to be a short-lived experience.

“The games are coming thick and fast at the minute and that suits us. We had a brilliant pre-season and are in our prime now,” said the former Galway United player.

“I am not saying that we will win every game or beat every team, but we can be consistent enough to finish in the top half of the table.”