Belfast Telegraph

McMahon saddened to plunge Portadown nearer relegation

By Adrian Rutherford

Peter McMahon admits he feels some sympathy for former club Portadown after pushing them another step closer to the Championship.

The winger, now with Dungannon Swifts, scored his first goal for his new employers at the weekend - the winner at Shamrock Park.

It ended what little hope the Ports had of pulling off a great escape and they now find themselves 14 points adrift at the bottom of the Danske Bank Premiership with just 15 left to play for.

McMahon was the player at the centre of the registration issue which led to the club being handed a 12-point deduction before the season started.

Despite leaving in acrimonious circumstances - and taking them to an employment tribunal over unpaid wages - he is saddened by their plight.

Asked if he felt sympathy, McMahon said: "I do - that's why I didn't celebrate scoring. I had three years there and I probably played my best football there.

"It's sad to see where they are going and hopefully they bounce back. I think upstairs (Club Directors) is where the problem is."

And McMahon is certain the Premiership will be poorer for the loss of the one-time Mid-Ulster giants.

"Without a doubt - they are a big club," he added.

"I sort of wanted to stay on, but the club treated me the way they wanted to treat me and I had to move on."

McMahon, a former Bohemians and Drogheda player, spent three seasons with Portadown. He last played for them in November 2015.

Last August, an employment tribunal awarded the 27-year-old £7,000 after they refused to pay him when he got injured.

An Irish FA disciplinary hearing also ruled McMahon had been paid while registered as an amateur.

The case led to a 12-point penalty being handed down - a decision which has played a big role in the Ports' inevitable slide out of top flight football.

For McMahon, however, all that is in the past.

He has been getting his career back on track with Dungannon and, having spent almost a year on the sidelines because of a hip joint problem, McMahon admits he is still searching for full fitness and believes it will be next season before Dungannon fans see the best of him.

"I need a pre-season under me," he added.

"I got back in November and was playing through games and have come in and out. I haven't really played through 90 minutes. It has been 70 minutes, in and out.

"Hopefully next season I will push on and get back to my best, where I was at Portadown."

He added: "It tells (not having a pre-season). I had to come off the last 15 minutes - I was just cramped all over.

"I haven't got used to the 90 minutes yet so hopefully that will come in time - probably next season."

Despite an injury-disrupted 18 months, McMahon believes he can recover the top form that has won him so many admirers in Irish League circles.

"I'm hoping so, that's why I want to see what pre-season will do. I have to build it up again," he added.

"I'm hoping pre-season will help me do that and get me up and running again."

This weekend, the focus turns to the Irish Cup, with Dungannon taking on Linfield at Mourneview Park in the first semi-final.

McMahon is hoping Saturday's performance will force his way into Rodney McAree's plans.

"I thought I had to prove myself a bit to try and get into the semi-final game," he added.

"Every player wants to play. I don't know what Rod is thinking or what way he is going to go about it.

"Hopefully I've got myself in the window but other players have got a lot of goals this season - Cormac Burke and Andrew Mitchell as well - so it's going to be hard to get in there."

McMahon has happy memories from his last semi-final appearance, when he scored in a 3-1 win for Portadown against Ballymena United.

That was during the Ports' run to the 2015 final - where they lost to Glentoran.

It was a day memorable for all sorts of reasons in the McMahon household.

He added: "It was actually my sister's wedding that day as well. I had to come up and play.

"I missed half of that so there was a bit of a feud in our family.

"At least we won the game. I scored too so that made it better as well."

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