IRISH CUP: Ambitious Rodney McAree aiming high with Dungannon Swifts

Dungannon's Douglas Wilson in a action with Warrenpoint's Stephen Murray
Dungannon's Douglas Wilson in a action with Warrenpoint's Stephen Murray

Confident Rodney McAree sees no reason why Dungannon Swifts cannot challenge for the Irish Cup this season.

But he concedes the draw could have been kinder after they were paired with Crusaders in the last 16.

The Tyrone side made the sixth round after a thrilling 4-3 win over Warrenpoint Town, keeping their hopes of glory alive.

Dungannon were beaten finalists in 2007, and have never won a major trophy.

But McAree believes his improving side are capable of giving anyone a good game.

“As a group of individuals and as a team I think we have every opportunity to go and achieve that,” he said.

“The players are capable. On our day we can challenge anyone, so why not target the Irish Cup?

“We will need a bit of luck along the way, but we’ll give it our best shot.”

Speaking of luck, McAree could have done without drawing Crusaders, three times cup winners, in the last 16.

This tie against struggling Warrenpoint was not without its complications either, with Dungannon relieved to hear the final whistle.

Dungannon led 4-1, but conceded twice in the final four minutes and were hanging on at the end.

McAree added: “Our first half performance was exceptional. We can’t just turn it on and off, we have to maintain that level of performance, and we stopped in the second half.

“But we’re through, we’re in the hat, and overall you have to be happy.”

Warrenpoint coach Paddy Dinsmore admitted they lost the tie in those opening 40 minutes.

“At 3-0 down, we weren’t at the game at all in the first half - we did nothing,” he said.

“We were away in Rotterdam last week and on the basis of the first half display it looked like we were only back yesterday.

“The only plus we can take out of it is the second half and scoring the three goals.

“But we left ourselves with too much to do.”