IRISH LEAGUE: Darren Murphy admits it was ‘right time’ to stand down as Dungannon Swifts boss

Darren Murphy during Saturday's game
Darren Murphy during Saturday's game

Darren Murphy believes it is the right time for him to step down as Dungannon Swifts manager in order to give his successor time to turn the Tyrone club’s fortunes around.

Murphy announced his resignation minutes after David Cushley’s injury time winner for Ballymena condemned the Swifts to a fifth straight Danske Bank Premiership defeat.

It leaves the Stangmore Park club second from bottom in the table.

“I wouldn’t want someone coming into the job with two months to go and the team second bottom – I would feel as if I would be letting a lot of people down doing that,” said Murphy.

“Stepping down 13 games in and with another 25 to play will give players a lift and hopefully that transforms into results.

“I just didn’t feel I was the right guy, right now, to do that.

“Quitting was hard but I’ve already been in the coaching environment and been developing myself as a person and now I have come to here.

“Any manager, even one as good as David Jeffrey in his 17 year tenure at Linfield, can only take a team so far before everyone demands change.

“I was under no pressure, I just felt myself that I have done all I can do. It’s a difficult job but enjoyable and I was fortunate to be one of the 12 managers in the top division but you can’t be selfish.

“You have to do the job for the right reasons and have the right principles behind that and if you feel you can’t do it you have to be man enough to say ‘you know what, my time’s up’.

“The players were fairly shocked. I suppose they always look at me because I’ve been able to recharge the batteries and go again.

“They have 8-10 weeks to prove themselves to the new manager before January (transfer window) and he will make his own decisions.

“I’ll not be a stranger – the first opportunity I get to go to a game at Stangmore, I’ll be there.

“I’m a club member and it’s a club that I know inside out but I’m not naive enough to think they’ll never sack me.

“I just have to do what I feel is right for the football club,” added Murphy.

Opposite number Glenn Ferguson felt he was witnessing an all-too-familiar pattern as skipper Jim Ervin became the third Ballymena to fail from the penalty spot this month, before Matthew Tipton’s stretching challenge on Ryan Harpur earned him a straight red card from referee Evan Boyce.

“My post-match interview last week was we’ll play a hell of a lot worse and get a result and that is exactly what happened,” he lamented.

“It was a relief, not only for me but for the players.

“I usually try to stay calm and give constructive criticism at half-time but to be honest I flew off the handle at half-time because of our lack-lustre performance.

“The players were on the back foot – they didn’t want to perform.

“It could have been a whole lot worse – Dwayne Nelson has pulled off the best save he’s going to make this season or any season and it has kept us in the game, so as much as Cush is the matchwinner, Dwayne deserves a lot of credit as well.

“Cush’s wasn’t a bad penalty at Glenavon, Jim’s wasn’t bad today but it’s something we need to sort out – who can consistently score from the penalty spot.

“The penalty misses have been at important stages of the game that can make a difference in the outcome, which the first two did.”