Belfast Telegraph

Goal-hero McElroy sees Swifts future

Dungannon 3-1 Portadown

By Adrian Rutherford

Paul McElroy celebrated signing a new deal at Dungannon Swifts by helping to topple Portadown in this Mid-Ulster derby.

The forward, who joined in the summer, has decided his long-term future lies at Stangmore Park.

McElroy has been the club's player of the season so far and his contract extension is a major boost for head coach Rodney McAree.

The 21-year-old said he had no hesitation in agreeing to remain with Dungannon.

"I spoke to the manager a few weeks ago and he said he wanted me to sign an extension," he explained. "I'm very happy here, it's close to home and the manager is trying to work towards something.

"He doesn't see us as a bottom of the table club and neither do I.

"Hopefully in the next season or two we can work our way up the table and start competing and winning more trophies for the club."

McElroy was one of the standout performers as Dungannon came from behind to beat Portadown.

Swifts had trailed to Chris Casement's 12th minute goal.

But they were level nine minutes later as the Ports defence failed to deal with a corner from Ryan Harpur, and Andrew Burns eventually fired home.

The home side then went in front in the 30th minute. Matt Hazley's pass released Andrew Mitchell into space. He pulled the ball back for McElroy, who squared for Harpur to slot home.

Dungannon have a nasty habit of letting games slip in the dying minutes. But McElroy ensured there would be no repeat when, in the 92nd minute, he took a pass from Alan Teggart before blasting home from a tight angle.

It capped another fine performance in what is proving a memorable season for McElroy.

He returned to Irish League football last year after being released by Hull City.

After unsuccessful spells at Linfield and Portadown, he joined Dungannon in the summer.

Ports boss Ronnie McFall was disappointed that his side failed to build on a good start.

"We started off alright and scored a good goal. But we looked a bit off the pace," he said.

Dungannon: Coleman, Montgomery, Burns, Armstrong, McCaffrey, Wilson, Harpur, Hazley (Teggart, 76 mins), Glackin, McElroy, Mitchell (Liggett, 86 mins). Unused subs: O'Rourke, Fitzpatrick, Burke.

Portadown: Miskelly, Casement, Redman, O'Hara, Oman, Garrett, Mouncey (Richardson, 46 mins), Mackle, Gault (Soares, 83 mins), Murray (McAllister, 65 mins), Twigg. Unused subs: Brennan, Parker

Man of the match: Ryan Harpur

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Andrew Davey (Bangor)

Belfast Telegraph


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