Hat-trick hero Ryan Harpur pleased to avoid cup upset

Dungannon Swifts' Ryan Harpur
Dungannon Swifts' Ryan Harpur

Everyone loves a cup upset, but Ryan Harpur was more than happy to see Moyola Park’s dreams of glory brought to an end by Dungannon Swifts.

The midfielder scored a hat-trick to help the Premiership team to a comprehensive victory at Mill Meadow in this one-sided clash.

A heavy defeat in Dungannon’s last game, plus the tendency for the fifth round to produce shocks, meant some had earmarked this tie as a potential upset.

In the end it turned out to be a comfortable afternoon, mainly due to Harpur’s first senior hat-trick.

“Normally there is at least one upset in the Irish Cup, and I’m glad it wasn’t us,” he said.

“These type of fixtures are always difficult.

“All the pressure is on us to win, and if we don’t win by two or three goals, it isn’t really good enough.

“So it’s good to come here and do what everyone expected us to do.”

Just eight minutes had gone when Cameron Grieve crossed to the back post and Gary Liggett – making his Swifts debut – headed home the opening goal.

Harpur made it 2-0 when he got the final touch to a Liggett strike before Stefan Lavery made it 3-0, again after being set up by Liggett.

Chris Dowie pulled one back for the Championship Two side, lobbing the goalkeeper after a quick counter-attack.

But Moyola’s hopes of an unlikely comeback were ended when defender Michael Walsh was red-carded for handling the ball on the line.

Harpur scored the resulting penalty before completing his treble, also from the spot, late on.

Initially there was some confusion as to who got the final touch on Swifts’ second – but Harpur insisted he finished off the shot from Liggett.

“I definitely scored the three, 100% - the referee will confirm it,” he added.

“It’s my first hat-trick since I was at school. I’ve never scored a hat-trick in a competitive game so I’m determined to claim this one.”

Dungannon now face the winners of the Coleraine v Cliftonville replay in the last 16.