Dungannon Swifts manager Murphy: Paul McElroy feels right at home
Dungannon 2-0 Ballymena Utd
Dungannon Swifts manager Darren Murphy believes Paul McElroy could turn out to be one of the signings of the summer.
McElroy capped a fine display with a splendid goal as Dungannon claimed their first win of the campaign with a 2-0 victory over Ballymena United on Saturday.
The 21-year-old winger arrived at Stangmore Park last month after a difficult year which saw moves to three different teams end in disappointment, but he is finding his feet back at the club where it all began and Murphy has been encouraged by his early performances.
"People will question this, but I think Paul McElroy has been our best player," the Dungannon boss said. "Some questioned me bringing him here because it didn't work out for him at Linfield or Portadown.
"But Paul is a Dungannon lad and we've known him since he was a five-year-old. There is lots and lots of quality there.
"I know it's only four games in, but he's shown in that time that he has the ability to play at this level, maybe even at a higher level."
McElroy was involved in much of the Swifts' good play in a scrappy game which looked set to end in stalemate.
But a lapse in concentration from the Sky Blues led to the opening goal in the 78th minute.
Dale Montgomery nicked possession and fed the ball through to Ryan Harpur, who slotted confidently past Dwayne Nelson.
McElroy then wrapped up the points in the 88th minute, scoring with a stylish effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Murphy added: "You always want to get your first win quickly, sooner rather than later.
"I know it's taken us four games but we've performed alright, bar the opening game against Carrick."
It was another afternoon of frustration for United, who sit bottom after opening the campaign with four straight defeats.
Boss Glenn Ferguson took some stick from fans before the game and afterwards hit out at what he termed "armchair keyboard warriors" who have been calling for him to be sacked.
On the game itself, however, Ferguson commented: "We've got to take positives from it because it was a better performance all round."
DUNGANNON: Coleman, Mullan, Montgomery, Burns, McCaffrey, Fitzpatrick (Mitchell, 59 mins), Harpur, Glackin, Burke (Hazley, 65 mins), Teggart, McElroy. Unused subs: McCullough, Liggett, Addis
BALLYMENA: Nelson, Ervin, McVey, Rodger, Ruddy, Thompson, Ferguson (Hanley, 70 mins), Jenkins, Faulkner, Shevlin (Millar, 67 mins), Cushley. Unused subs: McBride, Tipton, Kane
Man of the match: Paul McElroy
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Ross Dunlop (Carrickfergus)