McCarthy takes heart from cup journey

WE'RE THROUGH: Sean Friars celebrates with Dungannon Swifts
WE'RE THROUGH: Sean Friars celebrates with Dungannon Swifts

Their Irish Cup journey may be over, but Newington YC boss Eamonn McCarthy insists his side can take pride from their exploits this season.

The adventure ended in the sixth round as the Amateur League minnows bowed out against Dungannon Swifts.

Goals from Sean Friars, Ryan O’Neill and Marc Brolly saw the Premiership side set up a quarter-final clash against Donegal Celtic.

It was a hugely disappointing end for Newington, who caused one of the biggest ever cup shocks by dumping out Glentoran last month.

But while the dream is over for another year, McCarthy can reflect on some great memories.

“It has been a great run,” he said. “We got through to the fifth round and beat Glentoran, and no-one can ever take that away from us.”

Many pundits had tipped Dungannon to be the big casualties of the sixth round, but it took just seven minutes for them to edge ahead.

The goal followed good approach play by Brolly, who drifted in from the left and crossed for Friars, and he stuck out a leg to divert the ball home.

It all went horribly wrong for Newington in the second half, with O’Neill heading home Friars’ free-kick to double Dungannon’s lead.

The visitors were then reduced to 10 men when Cormac Brannigan was sent off for violent conduct, before Brolly made it 3-0 with a classy left-foot strike.

McCarthy admitted it was a disappointing way to exit the Irish Cup.

“We are very disappointed at how things ended today,” he added. “Dungannon were the better side, but were they three goals better? I don’t think so.

“I’m disappointed with the defending. The goal we conceded early on was very slack, the second one came from a ball into the box which wasn’t defended.”

Now McCarthy wants his players to focus on the league in the coming weeks.

“People have been complimentary about us, but those who know the Amateur League know that we are not a bad side,” he added.

“It’s been a great run but we don’t want our season to fizzle out. We have to go and win the league and our own domestic cup, the Clarence Cup.”

This was the perfect start for Darren Murphy, who took over as Dungannon head coach on the eve of the game, and he was delighted with their clinical display.

“It was always going to be a tough tie, but I think the difference today was the quality of finishing,” he said.

“I’m delighted with the result and to get to the quarter-finals of the Irish Cup is a big achievement.”

DGN SWIFTS: Morgan, O’Neill, Montgomery, E Friars, Gallagher, Ward, Fitzpatrick, Funston (Murphy, 79), Brolly, S Friars (McKerr, 69), Topley (McCaffrey, 69)

Subs not used: McMinn, C Forker

NEWINGTON: Dean Smith, McFall, C Brannigan, Pearce, Adams, Trainor (Lindsay, 68), McDonnell, M Smith (Smyth, 82), Dunlop, R Brannigan (Daniel Smith, 82), Quinn

Subs not used: Madden, McAuley

Referee: Colin Burns (Newtownabbey)