IRISH CUP: Semi-final holds no fears for Dungannon Swifts

Dungannon celebrate levelling the scores at 1-1 during Saturday's Irish Cup quarter-final after a Warrenpoint OG by Josh Lynch.  Photographer - Matt Mackey / Press Eye
Dungannon celebrate levelling the scores at 1-1 during Saturday's Irish Cup quarter-final after a Warrenpoint OG by Josh Lynch. Photographer - Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Rodney McAree believes Dungannon Swifts must approach their upcoming Irish Cup semi-final against Linfield with confidence, not fear.

The sides will do battle on April 1st for a place in the biggest game of the season - Dungannon’s first last-four clash since 2012, when they lost out to Crusaders.

Celebration time in extra-time for Dungannon Swifts against Warrenpoint Town. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

Celebration time in extra-time for Dungannon Swifts against Warrenpoint Town. Pic by PressEye Ltd.

The Swifts have a poor record against Linfield. They haven’t beaten the Blues since November 2013 and have suffered two heavy defeats already this term.

But McAree insists: “It is one to look forward to. If you get to a semi-final you don’t care who you get, it’s always going to be very difficult.

“Obviously it’s probably the toughest one in terms of where they are in the league, and the stature of the club and the experience they have of semi-finals and finals.”

Dungannon needed extra-time to beat Warrenpoint at the weekend.

Press Eye - Northern Ireland -  4th March  2017
          
Tennent's Irish Cup football - Dungannon Swifts v Warrenpoint Town.

Dungannon's Rodney McAree

Photographer - � Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Press Eye - Northern Ireland - 4th March 2017 Tennent's Irish Cup football - Dungannon Swifts v Warrenpoint Town. Dungannon's Rodney McAree Photographer - � Matt Mackey / Press Eye

They fell behind in the 55th minute when Aaron Traynor scored a close-range header. But an own-goal from Jordan Dane brought them level.

Douglas Wilson then scored three minutes into extra time to send them through.

McAree admitted Warrenpoint had been tough opposition - but was not surprised by their performance.

“It was hard work, we always knew it would be,” he said. “First and foremost we had to make sure we worked as hard as Warrenpoint, if not more.

“I thought over the course of the 120 minutes we probably deserved it and were the better side, without running away with it.”

Warrenpoint boss Matthew Tipton could take little comfort from a narrow defeat.

He felt his side didn’t impose themselves on the game, and did not show enough fight in the closing stages.

“We felt sorry for ourselves,” he admitted.

“We conceded from an own-goal, which happens in football, and then we went into our shells at the beginning of extra time.”