Belfast Telegraph

David Jeffrey talks up Tipton ahead of Ballymena's Irish Cup tie against Portadown

Institute 1 Ballymena United 2

David Jeffrey is determined to lead his side into the Irish Cup quarter-finals tonight.
David Jeffrey is determined to lead his side into the Irish Cup quarter-finals tonight.
Backed up: Adam Lecky holds off Institute’s Dean Curry

By Colin Speer

Ballymena United entertain Portadown tonight in the first of two massive cup ties this week.

The Sky Blues may have a Bet McLean League Cup final engagement with Linfield on Saturday but boss David Jeffrey, delighted with his side's hard-fought defeat of Institute at the weekend, insists his full focus is on this evening's Tennent's Irish Cup sixth round joust with Matthew Tipton's Ports.

"Matthew has done very well in his managerial career thus far," he stated.

"He did an absolutely fabulous job at Warrenpoint and then, in many ways, he got the job of his dreams, as Portadown is where he made his name, so to speak, as a footballer, so we know how tough it's going to be.

"In the previous round we were away to Dundela and that was a really, really tough match when we were pushed all the way and it's going to be equally tough come Monday night."

Jeffrey has run the rule over the Shamrock Park men himself and has also had them watched in the build-up to this evening's encounter.

"I have seen Portadown lots of times and I'll not tell you how many times we have seen them. We are well informed about them as I'm sure Matthew is about ourselves," he added.

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Institute's caretaker manager Kevin Doherty was, meanwhile, disappointed with their narrow loss on Saturday - which saw Steven McCullough net straight from a corner and Cathair Friel score a disputed penalty to put Ballymena 2-0 up ahead of Stephen Curry's consolation in response - but was very proud of his players.

"We were a little bit nervy in the first half, but our second half performance we were right in the game, were the better team towards the end and we were pushing for the equaliser," he explained.

Doherty, who worked under previous manager Paddy McLaughlin for a number of years, commended the character in the Stute dressing room.

"I know what they have come through before both on and off the pitch and I suppose I relied on that a wee bit and I asked them to do certain things and it's a testament to themselves that they are willing to roll their sleeves up and get on with it."

INSTITUTE: Gallagher, R Morrow (Smith, 76 mins), McLaughlin, D Curry, Doherty, Dunne, S Curry (Moorehead, 84 mins), Jarvis, Wilson, McCready, McBride (J Morrow, 80 mins).

Ballymena: Reece Glendinning, Addis, Friel, Knowles (Harpur, 73 mins (Faulkner, 88 mins)), McCullough, McGrory, Balmer, Winchester (Kane, 82 mins), Ervin, Lecky, Millar.

Referee: Tim Marshall (Irvinestown)

Man of the match: Cathair Friel

Match rating: 6/10

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