No credit for flying high, says Swifts boss
Darren Murphy believes Dungannon Swifts have not got the credit they deserve for their achievements in the Irish League.
The Tyrone side – who have been the county's sole representatives in the Premiership since 2005 – are well on course to secure an 11th season of top division football.
This weekend they face Ballinamallard in an intriguing clash between two small clubs who have punched above their weight in recent times.
The Mallards have rightly been praised for their debut season in the top flight, and look set to finish in the top half of the table.
However, Murphy believes that Dungannon's efforts in surviving so long in the Premiership should not be overlooked.
"I often think that our club hasn't got the credit it deserves for what it has achieved," he said.
"For a small club like Dungannon to play 10 successive years in the top division is some achievement."
Ballinamallard were tipped to make an instant return to the Championship after winning promotion last season, but they have confounded the sceptics with a string of stunning results.
Murphy, however, has not been surprised by their form, and compares it with Dungannon's early years in the top division.
"If you look back to when Dungannon got promoted into the Premiership, we finished 10th (in a 16 team league)," he added. "The following year we finished fourth.
"Teams who are promoted to the Premiership bring a new challenge. People don't know you, there is a surprise factor.
"So I'm not surprised by Ballinamallard. They also have some very good players and I knew they would do okay."
Murphy has secured long-term deals for key players Cameron Grieve, Grant Hutchinson, Matt Hazley, Michael McKerr and Francis Brennan. All will be at Stangmore Park for another two years, despite interest from other clubs.
"It's a step forward in the right direction and hopefully we can retain the signatures of a few more of our players in the coming days and weeks," Murphy added.