Belfast Telegraph

Murphy's law is to keep it cool in battle between Dungannon Swifts and Glenavon

By Graham Luney

Darren Murphy is confident cool heads will prevail in the mid-Ulster battle between his Dungannon Swifts side and Glenavon at Mourneview Park tonight (7.45pm).

Temperatures may be at freezing point in Lurgan but when the sides met at Stangmore Park last month a few heated challenges and verbal exchanges led to a post-match melee.

The Swifts won that battle 2-1 but Conor Dillon was dismissed late on for dissent and a shoving match erupted after the final whistle with supporters even getting involved.

Murphy is confident those scenes won't be repeated this evening as he feels players will be focused on doing their jobs right.

"You are going to get passion in a derby match like this one but I felt what happened last time round was just handbags, there was nothing in it," said Murphy, whose side overcame Ballinamallard United 2-0 on Boxing Day.

"Players have to play with their heads and not let too much emotion come into it. That passion can engulf you and play with your head. My players are experienced enough and Gary's (Hamilton) players are even more experienced to know they have jobs to do and the last game has been and gone.

"I think the league is different now than 10 or 15 years ago when players were facing each other a lot more often and personal battles were common. I can remember 10 or 11 Portadown v Glenavon matches in one season and that's not ideal as familiarity can breed contempt and it's not a great scenario for the players or fans."

Murphy has missed out on the signing of Paul McElroy after the former Hull City winger elected to join Portadown.

The Swifts boss claims McElroy, who was on Linfield's books, said he would come to Stangmore Park.

"Paul has gone back on his word and I'm disappointed about that," added Murphy. "That's what happens sometimes with the modern day player. He told me he would sign for us but that never happened. Since he's a lad who came through Dungannon United Youth it's a bitter pill to swallow."

Murphy is upbeat about the Swifts' form, though he knows his boys face a massive task.

"Gary has a lot of quality and if they can score three goals against Portadown at Shamrock Park that tells you how dangerous they can be," added Murphy.

"We have confidence after working hard to beat the Mallards but it should be another tight game against Glenavon."

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