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No swift end to survival fight

By Adrian Rutherford

Dungannon Swifts head coach Darren Murphy has insisted he would swap Irish Cup glory for survival in the Premiership this season.

The candid admission comes ahead of their biggest game of the season so far — against Crusaders in the semi-finals of local football’s premier knockout competition. It is the start of a six-game run which will define Dungannon’s season.

Win or lose at Mourneview Park today, Murphy will have little time to dwell on the result as attention quickly turns to the final five league fixtures. And he is clear where the priority lies.

“If you offered me the choice of winning the Irish Cup or staying in the Premiership then I’d take survival every time,” he said.

“It’s an easy decision. Winning silverware is great, but the priority is to stay in the top division.”

This is only Swifts’ second appearance in an Irish Cup semi-final.

The last was in 2007, when Adam McMinn scored the winning kick in a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw with Cliftonville.

“Let’s be realistic, Crusaders are big favourites,” added Murphy. “We are going into the game as underdogs. They have a great record in cup competitions this season and most people will expect them to win on Saturday.”

However, cup football is all about shocks.

“For us to go through we must be at our very best while they need to have an off day,” he added.

“But it’s cup football, it’s a one-off match. All I ask is that the players give it their best shot.”

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