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Currie shuffles pack and backs fresh faces to keep delivering

Loughgall 1 Portadown 2

By Ian Call

Niall Currie believes there is now serious competition for places at Shamrock Park after watching his revamped Portadown side ease past the challenge of Championship neighbours Loughgall.

The Ports boss made five changes to the side dismissed by Cliftonville in the Premiership last week and introduced new signing Shane Dolan for the last 10 minutes of their Irish Cup tie at Lakeview Park.

But it was another debutant, Ross Larkin, at the heart of the defence who particularly impressed his manager.

"The highlight for me was the 17-year-old centre half. I threw him into a highly intense game and he strolled it," said Currie.

Second half goals from Shea McGerrigan and Tiarnan Mulvenna were the decisive moments but Jack Duffin in goals in place of Chris McGaughey and Matt Hazley filling in at left back, gives Currie plenty of options.

Meanwhile, the Villagers' wait for another Premiership scalp in the Irish Cup continues. It is now 16 years since they defeated Coleraine in a sixth round replay but although current boss Dean Smith was "pleased with the performance", their 11th minute opener by ex-Ports player Peter Campbell proved a false dawn.

Elsewhere, an early Jamie McGonigle goal was enough to earn Coleraine victory over Tobermore United, while Dungannon Swifts made light work of Dollingstown.

Stefan Lavery opened the scoring at Stangmore Park and, although Richard Thompson drew the minnows level, Seanan Clucas restored the Swifts' lead ahead of Cormac Burke's second-half double.

Rodney McAree's men will play host to a quarter-final date with Warrenpoint Town, who overcame Crewe United 5-0 courtesy of goals from Conor McMenamin, Stephen Murray, Philip Donnelly, Liam McKenna and Curtis Dempster.

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