LEAGUE CUP FINAL: Dungannon Swifts Ryan Harpur out to make history

Dungannon Swifts skipper Ryan Harpur with Ballymena United captain Jim Ervin
Dungannon Swifts skipper Ryan Harpur with Ballymena United captain Jim Ervin

Dungannon Swifts captain Ryan Harpur will be looking to do what no other man has done and that is claim a senior trophy for the Stangmore Park outfit.

The Swifts have only made one other senior final in their time in the Irish League and on that occasion in 2007 they lost on penalties to Linfield.

But they have another chance tomorrow as they face Ballymena United in the BetMcLean Cup Final at the National Stadium at Windsor Park and skipper Harpur says it would be fantastic to get his hands on the trophy.

“I haven’t been thinking about being the first to lift a senior trophy for the club until I saw the trophy during the week,” said Harpur.

“And for the first time I visualised in my head what it would be like to lift the trophy above my head.

“If I do that it will be my biggest achievement to date because it would be great to lift it for such a great club.

“I know how much it would mean to me and everyone else at the club.

“It would be a massive honour for me to lift the trophy,” added Harpur.

And the midfielder says everyone at the club is cool, calm and collected before they take to the pitch at Windsor tomorrow afternoon.

“We will just try and treat it like a normal Saturday game even though there is a Cup up for grabs,” he said.

“We will just look to have a normal week, with training on Tuesday and Thursday night and keep things as normal as possible.

“And we have players in our team who have played in England and a few have played for their country, so it’s not as if we haven’t played in big games before.

“There are a few players in our team who will be playing in their first senior final in the Irish League but we have the experience to deal with that.

“We have enough big players in the dressing room to rise to the occasion.

“And we are not worried about the television cameras, we have played in front of the cameras before so that will not be a problem.”

And Harpur believes the victory over league leaders Crusaders in the semi-final has given his side the belief that they can get their hands on their first senior trophy.

“I think not our own supporters and the whole country had written us off,” he said. “Crusaders were flying at the time and I think they had won 23 games in a row.

“So you couldn’t blame anyone for counting us out because they are a fantastic team and to beat them was a real bonus for us.

“It gives us confidence that we can get the job done,” he added.

And Swifts manager Rodney McAree hopes having home grown players in his side will help his team on the day.

“A big part of it for me is having so many homegrown players in my squad,” he said.

“Hopefully that spirit of togetherness will serve us well.

“It would be a huge achievement for the club to win a senior trophy and indicate that we are going in the right direction, giving us another platform to build on for the future,” added McAree.