Chris Hegarty eyes Irish Cup success for Dungannon Swifts

Dungannon Swifts Chris Hegarty.
Dungannon Swifts Chris Hegarty.
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Dungannon Swifts defender Chris Hegarty hopes that the New Year’s Day win against Glentoran will finally heal his side’s travel sickness away from home.

The 4-2 success at The Oval presented Kris Lindsay’s troops with their first three points away from Stangmore Park all season.

Hegarty and his team-mates will now turn their focus on Saturday’s Irish Cup fifth round clash away to Cliftonville.

The Reds had a Christmas and New Year to forget as they lost all four league games and conceded seventeen goals in the process.

Some might say that this is the perfect opportunity to play Barry Gray’s side, but Hegarty knows that the Reds’ fire power will always cause problems.

“We had to bounce back from that heavy defeat to Ards and we were confident we could pick up a good result at Glentoran,” he said.

“As a squad we knew we were capable of winning away from home and the victory came at a good time for us as we want to keep climbing the table.

“There is never a good time to play Cliftonville as they are capable of scoring a high amount of goals with Joe Gormley and Rory Donnelly in attack.

“The cup game will give us and Cliftonville a bit of freedom from the league, so we have to go out there and enjoy it and hope to catch them on a bad day.”

The Swifts have already tasted cup success in North Belfast this season as they defeated Cliftonville on spot-kicks in the quarter-final of the BetMcLean League Cup – but fell victim to a heavy defeat to the same opposition two weeks later.

“We feel like we owe Cliftonville one after the 5-1 defeat as it was an embarrassing scoreline,” Hegarty added.

“We’ve been conceding too many goals recently and we want to get back to earning clean sheets.

“Hopefully our confidence is up after the win against Glentoran and we can pull off a wee run of wins.”

The 26-year-old had the perfect Christmas present both on and off the park as he was recently appointed captain at his hometown club after Ryan Harpur’s move to Ballymena United.

“Dungannon approached me about extending my contract and I was happy to sign,” he concluded.

“I have big shoes to fill in replacing Ryan as he was a great skipper and he will be a big miss for us.

“In football you have to move on and so will Ryan, but I hope I can do half as good a job that he done.”