| 13.1°C Belfast

Dean Shiels left thrilled as Dungannon complete week with third straight away win as they knock off Larne


Larne's Ben Doherty and Dungannon's Ryan Mayse chase the ball (Stephen Davison)

Larne's Ben Doherty and Dungannon's Ryan Mayse chase the ball (Stephen Davison)

Larne's Ben Doherty and Dungannon's Ryan Mayse chase the ball (Stephen Davison)

Dungannon Swifts manager Dean Shiels has hailed a fantastic week for the club as they made it three wins in the space of seven days with a 1-0 win over Larne at Inver Park.

Ryan Mayse’s third minute goal was the difference between the two sides as the Swifts took another big step away from the relegation places, staying 10th but moving six points ahead of 11th-placed Portadown and 11 ahead of Warrenpoint Town.

Having beaten Warrenpoint in a proverbial ‘six-pointer’ at Milltown on Tuesday night and progressing to the next round of the Irish Cup by beating Knockbreda last week, it’s been a big week for the Stangmore Park side.

Picking up three points at Inver Park against the buoyant Co Antrim Shield champions will be the biggest boost of them all for the Swifts, and Shiels was brimming with pride after the final whistle.

"It’s a hard place to come during any part of the season, but coming off the back of two hard away games on Saturday and Tuesday, it was really tough on the players physically and mentally and we had to patch them up and really look at who was fit enough to play the game. We’re delighted to get three away wins in a week,” he smiled.

"We got pressure on the ball. It’s always going to be difficult coming here, Larne are a good side. I wasn’t happy going in just 1-0, I thought we were wasteful when we pressed them high. We could have got a second goal which would have made things easier.

"Defending a lead here, there’s always going to be spells when Larne have pressure and we showed character and resilience to stand up to that.”

Daily Headlines & Evening Telegraph Newsletter

Receive today's headlines directly to your inbox every morning and evening, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

Shiels hasn’t had it all his own way since taking over at the Swifts in March, with the side finishing bottom last season and only avoiding the drop due to the temporary Covid-19 rules that prevented teams being relegated.

But now he is seeing the fruits of his labour as they picked up a couple of big victories in the context of the season, and the former Rangers man believes his team are getting better with each passing game.

"When I took over it was a tough job. There had to be such a big turnover of players in the summer, there were 15 players left the club and we only brought in seven and we were never going to get it right straight away, it was always going to take time to put building blocks in and develop relationships and for the players to see what I’m trying to do,” he added.

"I see us getting stronger every week, I’m seeing more things I’m trying to implement. I’m happy with where we were are currently.

"Finishing bottom adrift last year, we knew it was going to be a tough ask but we’re not getting carried away. It’s a great week for us and we’ll look to build on that now.”

Key to that progression has been Shiels’ reliance on youth, relying on a core of Under-21 stars such as Caolin Coyle, Michael Glynn, Ben Gallagher, Cahal McGinty, Darragh McBrien, Ethan McGee and, of course, captain Oisin Smyth.

"Young players are fearless. We’ll always give them a chance. We’ve played 11 teenagers in the league – that’s not the Cup, the league. They’re very responsive and keen, they work hard, there’s a good attitude,” said Shiels.

"I look in their eyes and I see hunger to be successful, and that’s what I want whether they’re 18 or 35. If we stick together and show that hunger and the quality we have throughout the team then we’ll have a successful season.”

Larne, meanwhile, were brought back down to earth with a bump as they fall one place to fifth in the table and Tiernan Lynch’s side are now 11 points adrift of leaders Linfield.

Top Videos