Belfast Telegraph

Nothing to fear, says McAree as Swifts aim for Euro prize


By Aidan Rutherford

Rodney McAree says he isn't bothered that Dungannon have been largely written off ahead of this week's play-offs for Europe. A decade has passed since the Tyrone side last qualified for continental football.

But a win at Ballymena tonight will leave the Swifts just 90 minutes away from ending that long wait.

Of the four clubs in the mix, Dungannon are outsiders.

Yet McAree says they have nothing to fear, and believes they can take encouragement from their performances this season.

"It is an occasion to relish and we have nothing to be nervous about," he said.

"We aren't expected to do too much, but then we haven't been expected to do too much all season.

"The position we are in, we can embrace it and try and enjoy it.

"We've had good results against the other three clubs involved in the semi-finals, which is encouraging.

"However, that all probably goes out the window. It counts for nothing.

"So we have to make sure that we're ready for the challenge that lies ahead."

Tonight's clash brings together two sides in good form, with both ending the campaign strongly.

Dungannon won their last four games, while Ballymena wrecked Crusaders' title hopes en route to finishing fourth.

McAree added: "It's going to be extremely difficult.

"Ballymena have done very well and have had a good, strong finish to the season like ourselves.

"They have also been playing against stronger opposition in the top six.

"But we've a wee bit of momentum ourselves. No matter who you play against in the Irish League it is difficult to get wins.

"We are going in off the back of four straight wins, and it's a long time since we have done that.

"Hopefully we can go one more and give ourselves another opportunity."

Dungannon are without captain Ryan Harpur, who is suspended, while Ally Teggart is an injury doubt.

The game at Ballymena Showgrounds will kick off at 7:45pm, and will be played to a finish.

If scores are level at the end of 90 minutes, extra-time of 15 minutes each way will be played, and if the scores are still level after extra-time the game will be decided by penalty kicks.

United fans should note that note that Season Tickets and BUYA passes are not valid for this game. Admission, payable at the gate, is £10 for adults and £7 for seniors and youths.

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