Belfast Telegraph

It's a dream come true for Mayse to stay on goal trail

By Adrian Rutherford

Three years ago Ryan Mayse was scoring in a junior cup final. On Saturday evening he repeated the feat on a much grander scale.

The Dungannon Swifts midfielder hit two goals and laid on a third in a man of the match performance.

For the 24-year-old, it was a dream come true.

"It's a surreal feeling - it's the stuff you dream of as a youngster," he said.

"To play in a cup final is what you aim for as you set out as a kid, and to maybe score in a final, but to score two is unbelievable.

"It hasn't sunk in yet and it won't for a couple of days, I'm sure.

"It's massive for the club and for the community. It's a great achievement."

Mayse crashed in the opener after 11 minutes, before putting the Swifts back in front after Kyle Owens had equalised.

He then laid on the pass for Cormac Burke's third.

It came almost three years after Mayse had played a starring role for Strathroy Harps in a Mulhern Cup final win over Enniskillen Town.

"I was just thinking after the final whistle that three years ago I was playing in a junior cup final for Strathroy Harps," he added.

"I scored twice that day in a 4-1 win and got man of the match.

"Now fast-forward to today, to score two goals and win a final in the national stadium is unreal. Words don't describe it."

Boss Rodney McAree played in the Dungannon team which lost the 2007 Irish Cup final.

Eleven years later, he returned as manager to oversee one of the greatest results in the club's history.

And while the Swifts were underdogs on Saturday, he always believed they could triumph.

He said: "Did I feel it was going to be our time? Yes.

"I thought the pitch was always going to suit us - the size of the pitch and the areas we were going to go and play.

"I had a real good feeling but I thought we had a really good chance going into tonight's match."

A proud McAree said: "I'm ambitious and hopefully this kicks the club on more and we can progress further. It's a very proud moment for myself and my family.

"We did try to play, we can play better but there were a few nerves.

"Ballymena played in six finals in seven years and we played against the greatest ever Irish League manager in David Jeffrey and his right hand man Bryan McLoughlin and we had to get the better of them.

"I knew we would have to score at least two goals because of their attacking threat. We weathered a storm, soaked up pressure and I thought the size of the pitch would suit us. I had a good feeling going into it."

He added: "The years of hard work that my mother and father put in at this club - this is a little bit of a reward.

"I'm so proud of the players, staff, committee and chairman - everyone who has helped us.

"We have a tendency to get a great bunch of boys in and around us but this is as tight-knit a bunch as I have seen at Dungannon Swifts and they will enjoy this moment."

Belfast Telegraph

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