Belfast Telegraph

Lindsay hails 'excellent' Swifts after ousting old side Glenavon in Irish Cup

Glenavon 0-1 Dungannon Swifts

Flying high: Swifts ace Paul McElroy after netting the winner from the penalty spot
Flying high: Swifts ace Paul McElroy after netting the winner from the penalty spot
Oisin Smyth and Conor McCloskey of Glenavon
Adrian Rutherford

By Adrian Rutherford

Kris Lindsay praised the character of his Dungannon side as they beat Glenavon to reach the quarter-finals of the Tennent's Irish Cup.

An early penalty from Paul McElroy saw them edge an entertaining Mid-Ulster derby at Mourneview Park.

The Swifts have become cup specialists in the last year or so, and with a home tie against Championship side Ballinamallard next up, they will fancy their chances of making the semis.

Lindsay, a two-time Irish Cup winner with Glenavon, was delighted with his team's efforts.

"The players deserve a lot of credit for the result and the performance," he said.

"From back to front we were excellent - we defended really, really well.

"We were big and strong, we won our individual battles and we limited Glenavon to very few clear cut chances.

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"Yes, they put us under a lot of pressure, but we stood up well and took our chance when it came along."

McElroy, who now has nine goals for the season, won and scored the decisive penalty for the Swifts' winner.

McElroy said: "Most of the goals I've scored this season have been important, and thankfully I've come up with another one."

Both sides were playing their second game in just 48 hours.

Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton had voiced his anger at the tie's scheduling ahead of kick-off, and his view won't have changed after this result.

He made six changes from Saturday, but the Lurgan side struggled to create clear cut chances.

This was an entertaining tie from the first whistle.

After 90 seconds, Mark Patton crossed to the back post, where Seanan Clucas' strike was blocked by goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey.

At the other end Robert Garrett's ball picked out Josh Daniels, who headed into the side-netting.

Then Andrew Mitchell crossed to namesake Hall, but Swifts goalkeeper Alex Moore made a superb stop from his header.

And Dungannon capitalised on the let-off as they raced up the other end and won a 16th-minute penalty.

Patton's cross was aimed in at McElroy, who was brought down by Seamus Sharkey.

It was an easy decision for referee Tim Marshall, and McElroy stepped up to send Tuffey the wrong way, slotting his kick into the bottom right-hand corner.

The Swifts lost 3-0 here at the same stage last season, but were so impressive last night.

They were organised, getting players behind the ball and working hard.

When Garrett found himself in a promising position outside the box, he was immediately closed down by Clucas and forced to play it back.

It was typical of the Swifts' dogged performance, with Christopher Hegarty and David Armstrong looking solid at the back.

They had chances too, and McElroy really should have made it 2-0 in the 36th minute.

He made a great run to collect Oisin Smyth's pass but, from a tight angle, rolled the ball inches wide of the back post with Tuffey beaten.

Minutes later a clearance rebounded kindly for Patton, whose first-time shot flashed wide.

Hall was busy for Glenavon, working Moore from a free-kick before almost laying on an equaliser for Mitchell, but the striker couldn't get contact on his cross.

On the sidelines, Hamilton cut a frustrated figure, pacing the technical area as he urged more from his players.

He introduced Conor McCloskey for the second half, then Cameron Stewart and Daniel Larmour, but Glenavon struggled to land efforts on target.

A foul on Hall led to a free-kick, with Mitchell's effort curling comfortably over.

With an hour played, Mitchell took Hall's pass and crossed, with Stewart shooting over from a yard or two out.

The Swifts, who lost Michael Carvill to injury in the first half, suffered a second blow when Hegarty limped off.

However, James Ferrin came on and slotted into the back line seamlessly.

As Glenavon pushed for an equaliser, the game opened up.

Patton headed off target from sub Rhyss Campbell's cross, and a piledriver from Dougie Wilson crept inches over.

With 14 minutes left the ball fell to Ally Teggart in the box, but his low shot was dragged wide.

On the touchline, Lindsay watched anxiously, encouraging his side at each break in play.

Smyth collected a pass from McElroy and teed up Clucas, who came rushing in but shot over.

McCloskey had a late chance for Glenavon with an overhead kick but it was aimed straight at Moore.

Belfast Telegraph


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