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Swift exit gives new boss time, says Darren Murphy

Ballymena United 1-0 Dungannon Swifts

By Billy Weir

Darren Murphy stepped aside as Dungannon Swifts manager to allow his successor time to try and save the club from relegation.

Murphy's shock decision to call it a day after almost four years with the Stangmore Park club came in the light of a sixth successive defeat, losing to 10-man Ballymena United on Saturday.

He told the board and players his decision moments after David Cushley's injury-time goal denied the Swifts a point against a side for whom Jim Ervin missed a penalty and played most of the second period a man down when Matthew Tipton was sent off for his lunge on Ryan Harpur.

"I haven't lost the changing room, I'm well liked in the changing room," insisted Murphy. "I've had my fall-outs with players, all managers do, but it's football and you move on. I move on, they move on and they've got eight to 10 weeks to prove themselves to the new manager.

"When January comes he'll make his own decisions on that squad and they'll move on from there. They lost the best manager they ever had when Joe McAree stood down when he had taken the club to where he needed to take it.

"They filtered about with managers until I arrived and I've been the longest serving manager in the Premier League era with them. It's been a fantastic four years and I've loved every minute of it.

"I wouldn't want somebody coming in to the job with two months to go and second bottom. I feel I would be letting a lot of people down doing that. Stepping aside 12 games in and another 26 to play gives players a lift and makes them go out and put a shift in.

"Hopefully that transforms into results and then they climb the table. I just didn't think I was the right guy right now to do that."

First-team coach Rodney McAree is the man tasked, in the short-term at least, to take over with the caretaker manager in charge for tomorrow night's Mid Ulster Cup clash with Dollingstown.

The club issued a statement about Murphy's decision but have not commented on who his long-term successor may be.

"Dungannon Swifts Football Club would like to thank Darren Murphy for all his efforts and commitment during his time as manager of our club," they said.

BALLYMENA: Nelson, Kane, Ervin, Taylor, McVey, Faulkner (Ruddy, 61 mins), Thompson (Taggart, 35 mins), Jenkins, Shevlin (Henderson, 74 mins), Tipton, Cushley. Unused subs: Magennis, Gawley.

Dungannon: Coleman, Burns, Wilson, Armstrong, McCaffrey, Lowe, Fitzpatrick (Mullen, 61 mins), Harpur, Montgomery (Teggart, 72 mins), McElroy (Douglas, 84 mins) Mitchell. Unused subs: Addis, Burke.

Man of the match: Dwayne Nelson

Match rating: 3/10

Referee: Evan Boyce (Ballygowan)

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