Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Robinson defends Dungannon Swifts' youth policy

Dungannon Swifts 0 Institute 1

Dungannon Swifts boss Dixie Robinson had a cautious eye on a potential play-off when considering his options ahead of the visit of Institute.

And his intuition paid off, as post-match, the Maghery man confirmed his belief that resting the team he hopes can do the business against Donegal Celtic was the right call.

“It was the right decision to rest players. It will be a benefit going into the first game of the play-off with fresh legs.

“Saying that, it was good to see some of the younger players at the club in order to gauge how close they are to the standard required for first team football and, in Scott McCullough and Aidan Forker, we got super performances” said Robinson (above).

The match against Institute was a best forgotten affair as both teams used the meaningless end of season fixture to give experience to some of their youth and reserve players, a tactic that will probably have set a new record for the lowest average age of teams in an Irish league fixture as 15, 16 and 17-year-olds were peppered throughout the starting line-ups.

Disappointingly, Dungannon only managed to create a couple of scoring opportunities, Marc McCann forcing a save from Stute keeper Alan Ryan, while teenage substitute Paul Stretton headed just off target late in the second half.

The visitors had slightly better luck in attack with former Swifts player Austin Friel shooting to the net after Declan Divin crossed.

Previously, Friel and Sean Roddy had fired just off target with long range free kicks while Divin also hit a Dungannon post.

For Institute manager John Gregg, the game brings a sense of relief and achievement.

“I am glad the season is over. Everyone tipped us and Bangor to be relegated this season, so our performance has been a real achievement."

People might have questioned our right to a place in the league but our finishing table position answers them” said Gregg, who can now happily focus on his wedding on Friday.

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