Belfast Telegraph

Coleman urges Dungannon Swifts to put Cup on backburner

By Adrian Rutherford

Andy Coleman has warned Dungannon Swifts not to get distracted by their upcoming Irish Cup semi-final.

The Tyrone side face Linfield in the last four of the Cup on April 1, but before that they face three must-win league games as their battle to make the top six reaches its climax.

They take on Glenavon this weekend, knowing anything other than victory will end their hopes of finishing in the top half.

The Swifts then play Cliftonville and Portadown, and Coleman knows they cannot look beyond those games.

"We need to put the semi-final to the back of our heads for the next few weeks," the goalkeeper said.

"We have a massive game at Glenavon this weekend and we have to go there and we have to win to give ourselves a chance.

"For the next few weeks we won't be speaking about the semi-final.

"We just have to knuckle down and work hard in the league.

"It might be difficult but that's our job. The league is the priority and anything in the Cup is a bonus."

Dungannon needed extra-time to beat Warrenpoint in their quarter-final tie at the weekend, a strike from Douglas Wilson seeing them edge past the Championship leaders.

Coleman said: "We knew what we were going to get from Warrenpoint. They worked really, really hard and we had expected that.

"But I thought over the 120 minutes we created the better chances.

"Their goalkeeper made four or five good saves, whereas I had only one save, so it was well deserved."

The draw for the semi-finals has paired Dungannon with the Blues, last year's runners-up.

It will be a real test for the Swifts, who have faced lower-league opposition in every round this season.

But Coleman insists there is no reason to fear Linfield - despite mixed fortunes in their three league meetings to date.

"It's tough - as tough as it gets - but we're in the semi-finals and if you had offered us a semi-final against Linfield at the start of the season we'd have snapped your arm off," he added.

"We've gone to Windsor Park earlier this season and drawn with them, and played very, very well.

"On the flip side they have come here and given us a couple of hammerings. We'll go there (neutral ground Mourneview Park), give it a go and see where it takes us.

"It is Cup football, it comes down to what happens on the day. Look at Leicester last season - we will use that as our inspiration."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph