Belfast Telegraph

Murphy making a strong case Dungannon Swifts' defence

By Gareth Irvine

Darren Murphy isn't worried that he has lost over 30 years of playing experience from his Dungannon Swifts defence.

The departure of long-serving Johnny Montgomery and Emmet Friars' move to Portadown stripped the Stangmore Park squad of two players who have seen and done it all.

Murphy, however, believes that his young players are much more equipped to cope after a full season together in the Premiership.

"Johnny was a loyal servant to Dungannon Swifts for a long time, but he couldn't go on forever," said Murphy.

"As far as Emmet is concerned we couldn't compete with Portadown financially.

"We have a very young squad, but I don't mind that. I know we are going to get mistakes, but we are going to get energy too which I am happy about.

"The good thing is that the vast majority of the squad has now been together for a year – Michael McKerr, Grant Hutchinson, Matty Hazley, Cameron Grieve, Fra Brennan – so although we've lost experience, these lads are a year more experienced.

"They have all grown up a bit more and now I am expecting more of them."

The Swifts face Warrenpoint Town in their opening game – and they won't have far to travel with the top flight newcomers sharing Stangmore Park until their Milltown home is ready for Premiership football, which should be in November.

Drawing 13 of their 38 games prevented Dungannon from finishing any higher than 10th last season and that's something which Murphy wants to remedy.

"It was no secret that we needed a centre-forward," said Murphy.

"Josh Cahoon did very well and scored 12 goals. James Costello scored eight, but when he got injured at the end of the season we didn't have the same threat.

"James did well and scored goals later in the season and now we've brought in Stephen Doyle to give us more competition up front.

"If we can score more goals I'd be confident of having a better season."

Belfast Telegraph

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